Repeal ban to aid HIV patients
The medical field comes with a lot of tough choices, and we certainly don't envy the people who have to make them. It takes tremendous courage and a strong sense of ethics in order for doctors and other medical professionals to successfully deal with all of the issues that arise. One of the current debates in the medical field is the question of organ transplants for patients with HIV. As it stands, HIV-positive patients have a difficult time receiving organ transplants, which is understandable considering the complications involved in performing such surgeries on these patients. But some experts are considering a somewhat drastic change to organ transplant guidelines, which could provide a possible boon to HIV-infected patients who find it difficult to obtain organs. These experts are pushing for the repeal of a ban on donating and transplanting HIV-infected organs, as well as organs with other imperfections. If the ban is repealed, organ donors with HIV-infected organs would only be able to donate to patients who already have HIV No one not already suffering from the disease would receive HIV-infected organs. Given this proviso, we feel this is a great idea.
On first glance, it may seem like a form of discrimination. Rather than receiving normal, healthy organs, HIV-infected patients would be receiving less-than-perfect organs. But it is not like the current regulations guarantee that HIV-infected patients are receiving good organs. On the contrary, many medical authorities decide not to give these organs to HIV-infected patients, because of the complications that are possible with the transplant surgery and because the organs will most likely be destroyed by the virus regardless of the transplant. Instead, these medical authorities usually choose to give organs to patients who have a high chance of surviving the transplantation.
Allowing the donation and transplantation of less-than-perfect and HIV-infected organs gives HIV-positive patients a better shot at receiving organ transplants. While these organs are not the best possible organs, they at least offer the possibility of an extension of the patient's life that the patient may not have a chance at otherwise.
In an article published yesterday in The New York Times, Dr. Dorry Segev, the transplant surgery director of clinical research at Johns Hopkins University, stated, "We have a huge organ shortage. Every HIV-infected one we use is a new organ that takes one more person off the list." We agree with Dr. Segev. Sometimes, you have to do the best you can with limited resources.