Advocacy Ethical Considerations Living Kidney Donor

More on the Scott Sisters – and a call to action

Here’s the NY Times coverage on the Scott Sisters case:

The following is the comment I left on the article, with a call to action. It might seem a bit disjointed since I was replying to other posters’ questions and concerns:

NOTA 1984 specifically prohibits receiving ‘valuable consideration’ for an organ. Barbour, by making the donation a requirement of her parole, is forcing Gladys to trade her freedom for her kidney. This is a glaring violation of federal law.

Living donation has always been a sketchy situation because it harms one person for the potential benefit of another. Medicine and ethics have justified this uneven exchange by relying heavily on the propsective living donor’s ‘autonomy’. This means, among other things, that a prospective donor has the right to change her mind at any point during the evaluation, even up to the moment she is wheeled into the operating room. Barbour, by tying the donation to her freedom, has negated Gladys’ autonomy. Any surgeon or transplant center who performs the procedure under these conditions is violating their Hippocratic Oath and should be censured by their state medical board, as well as OPTN.

Jamie has a Medicare entitlement under the 1972 end-stage renal disease act. It will however, only pay for three years of anti-rejection meds. Consequently, if she manages to obtain a transplant (living or deceased), it could be rejected if she doesn’t find a way to continue the meds.

Gladys is uninsured. As an African-American, she is also at higher risk for hypertension and end-stage renal disease as a living donor. According to one study, African-Americans make up 90% of the living kidney donors diagnosed with ESRD within 10 years of donating.

I encourage those readers who are incensed by this decision to contact the Dept of Justice regarding the NOTA violation:
as well as the HRSA (the Dept of Health agency that handles the US organ transplant system):

And ACOT (advisory committee on transplantation):
Member roster .pdf near the bottom.

One reply on “More on the Scott Sisters – and a call to action”

Thanks for this commentary, and the links. I am the parent of a kidney recipient and the wife of his living donor. I am outraged but not surprised at the dehumanization of people in prisons, but Barbour's move was a new form of coercion. What freaks me out in reading comment threads on this case is how cluelessly so many folks responded to it, how many basics of Ethics 101 are not even part of the thinking of most folks, it seems, when it comes to prisoners, (or folks with chronic illness, for that matter).

Glad I found your blog.

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