N.J. organ transplant measure helps developmentally disabled

A New Jersey Assembly committee has advanced a measure to end organ transplant discrimination based on mental or physical disabilities.

The legislation stems from an incident involving a Stratford, New Jersey toddler. She reportedly was refused candidacy for a kidney transplant by a doctor at a Philadelphia hospital because she suffers from the developmental disability, Wolf-Hirschorn syndrome.

Tom Baffuto is executive director of The Arc of New Jersey. He says being turned down for an organ transplant because of disability is appalling.

“We are well aware that the number of those in need of transplant far outweighs the number of organs available. However, distribution must be fair and non-discriminatory,” he said.

One of the bill’s sponsors, Assemblywoman Valerie Huttle, says it will ensure some of the most vulnerable citizens are given an equal change for a long and healthy life.

The Assembly Human Services Committee voted unanimously to advance the measure to the full Assembly. It was approved by the Senate last month. 

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