Organ donations and transplants: rules and ethics

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Guests: Scott Halpern and Kathi Clapham

The story of the 10-year-old Sarah Murnaghan and her family’s fight to lift the age restrictions on the adult lung transplant list made headlines around the country. Sarah’s lungs had been destroyed by cystic fibrosis and she was in desperate need of a new pair but because she was under twelve years of age, she was ineligible for adult lungs. After online petitions, a massive PR campaign, and repeated national media coverage, a U.S. District Judge intervened, ordering that Sarah and an 11-year-old from New York City, Javier Acosta, be added to the adult transplant list. Two weeks ago, Sarah Murnaghan underwent a lung transplant at Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia. This hour we examine the complicated ethical questions raised by this case around organ donations, how the rules a set and when they can be broken.  We’ll also explore why more people don’t donate their organs. Marty’s guests are pulmonologist and bioethicist, SCOTT HALPERN from the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine and KATHI CLAPHAM, a lung-transplant recipient who is now an advocated for organ donation.

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