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07/27/2010

Should a Confessed Killer Get a Second Chance from a Donor Liver?

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Arthur Caplan in his MSNBC column discusses over a confessed killer receiving a liver transplant. How could someone who himself admitted killing his wife jump to the head of the queue to receive one of the scarcest resources in the world? The answer is simple as Caplan put it:

“The current system for distributing organs makes no exceptions either for murderers or attempted suicides. If there is a matching organ then the person who is the most in need, which Concepcion most certainly was, has top priority for it.”

Of course, getting into the business of allocating organs according to a person’s societal worth is messy stuff, but there is something just intuitively obvious about this case that suggests that this patient, no matter now medically needy, perhaps should not have received the liver ahead of, um, whoever else was on the list.

To read Caplan’s entire MSNBC column and his take on the issue, click here.

Summer Johnson, PhD

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