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Ethical Considerations Living Kidney Donor

Nurse Giving Kidney to a Patient is Nothing to Celebrate

From the LA Times:

http://www.latimes.com/health/boostershots/la-heb-kidney-donation-nurse-20120116,0,95491.story

Taber eventually would up in the transplant unit at Emory, where Batson, a transplant nurse, was working.

Batson continued to visit with Taber, and by the time he was discharged to continue dialysis treatments at home, Batson offered him her kidney if it was a match, since she had the same O-negative blood type.

Why is this a problem?

Because a nurse’s duty is to give the same, high quality care to all of her/his patients. Imagine if you were one of Ms. Batson’s dialysis patients and you found out she gave one of her kidneys to Taber. Wouldn’t some part of you resent that she didn’t give it you? Wouldn’t you doubt the level of care you were receiving from your medical providers? Undoubtedly.

And this is the exact reason why people in helping professions (doctor, nurse, clergy, social worker, therapist, lawyer, teacher, etc) are schooled on things like ‘boundaries’ and ‘ethics’. These guidelines prohibit behaviors that aren’t illegal per se, like engaging in romantic/sexual relationships with clients/patients, giving money to patients/clients, or even providing treatment to relatives or loved ones, but are detrimental or threatening to the professional dynamic. The point is to keep the professional’s focus on the job at hand, and to avoid preferential or discriminating behavior.

I think we can all agree that kicking out a kidney is the ultimate in favoritism.

What’s worse than Ms. Batson’s lapse is that a host of specialists, surgeons, social workers, nurses, and coordinators were complicit in it. Not a single one of them stood up and said, “Hey don’t you think this is setting a bad precedent?” No, the belief that a recipient should obtain a living donor transplant is so pervasive that everyone at Emory threw their ethics out the window.

And that’s a bad thing for everyone, especially their living donors.

See Also: Loyola’s Living Donor Ethics – Beyond Epic Fail

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