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Inquirer Daily News

Archive: February, 2012

POSTED: Friday, February 3, 2012, 10:29 AM
Amelia Rivera, 3, with her mother, Chrissy, and brother Nathan. There is more than one way to decide how to make transplant eligibility decisions. (Michael Bryant / Staff photographer)

No doubt the recent news of Amelia Rivera — a 3-year-old girl with Wolf-Hirschhorn Syndrome whose family is hoping to provide her with a kidney transplant — is an emotional story. Our hearts can’t help but go out the Rivera family. But should emotion be the key arbiter of decisions regarding organ donation?

At this very moment there are 72,395 people in the United States waiting for organs, but only 11,713 donors. In simplest of terms, organ donation is a textbook case of supply not being able to meet demand. The simplicity, however, stops there.

Decisions regarding who gets human organs and tissue are literally matters of life or death; and countries the world over struggle with complex ethical dilemmas regarding who lives and who dies. In “The Prostitute, the Playboy, and the Poet,” bioethicists George Annas describes a few approaches to making such decisions — none of which are perfect.

About this blog

What is public health — and why does it matter?

Through prevention, education, and intervention, public health practitioners - epidemiologists, health policy experts, municipal workers, environmental health scientists - work to keep us healthy.

It’s not always easy. Michael Yudell, Jonathan Purtle, and other contributors tell you why.

Michael Yudell, PhD, MPH Associate Professor, Drexel University School of Public Health
Jonathan Purtle, MPH Doctoral candidate and Research Associate, Center for Nonviolence and Social Justice, Drexel University
Janet Golden, PhD Professor of history, Rutgers University-Camden
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