KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Judge’s Second Ruling On Child Transplants Prompts Ethical, Political Questions

A federal judge issued a second ruling in as many days allowing another dying child onto an adult transplant list -- a move that could have ramifications for thousands of adults waiting for donated organs.

The Associated Press/Washington Post: Judge's Rulings In Heart-Wrenching Cases Raise Questions Of Fairness In U.S. Transplant Policy
It’s a life or death matter: Who gets the next scarce donated organ? In an unprecedented challenge to the nation's transplant system, a federal judge has allowed one dying child -- and a day later another -- to essentially jump the line in rulings that could have ramifications for thousands of people awaiting new organs (6/7).

Politico: Court Steps Into Second Child Lung Transplant Case
A federal judge in Philadelphia has granted a temporary restraining order in the second case involving children needing lung transplants in as many days, raising questions among ethicists about political pressure, emotional media coverage and case-by-case decision making about allocating scarce organs (Norman, 6/7).

Meanwhile, another lawmaker asks the Health and Human Services secretary to intervene in the case of a child with end-stage cystic fibrosis --

The Hill: Toomey Calls On Sebelius To Change 'Flawed' Organ Donation Policy
Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) called on Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius Thursday to change an organ donation policy. … Toomey said a 10-year-old Pennsylvania girl named Sarah Murnaghan needs a lung transplant otherwise she "might only have a few weeks to live" (Cox, 6/6).

And ethicists weigh in on the issue --

USA Today: Ethicists Weigh In On Pediatric Lung Transplant Case
There are almost 1,700 people in this country on the waiting list for a lung transplant, including 31 children under age 11, according to the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network. But none captured the public's attention like the case of Sarah Murnaghan, age 10, who suffers from end-stage cystic fibrosis (Hellmich, 6/7).

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