Friday, June 14, 2013

Bioethics - Blergh

There has been a lot of to-do about the little girl who was allowed to get on an adult organ transplant list despite her age, due to the parents and social media outrage that this little girl was being denied a transplant simply because of her age. 

Bioethicists and shade tree ethicists the internet over have pondered this situation to death, asking whether it was ethical to take away the chances of the adult who she replaced on that list, in favor of her, simply due to public backlash on social media, and political lobbying on the part of the parents.

It’s been done to death, as I said, and since I don’t even want to pretend to be a bioethicist, and typically put ethical discussions into the realm of philosophical navel-gazing for the most part (and you all know what I think about philosophy majors), so I have no desire to rehash the thing.  If you’re looking for good discussion about the ethics of this situation, here’s a good place to start. 

The reason that I’m writing about this shit-sandwich is a different reason entirely, and it goes a little something like this:

This little girl needed a lung transplant because she has cystic fibrosis, which is a condition that clogs up your lungs over time with extra tissue until you suffocate to death.  Sounds like fun, eh? 

The upshot to CF is that it is a death sentence.  You will die.  Period.  There is nothing that can be done.  The oldest a person has ever lived to be with CF was 40-ish, and that person’s life was likely quite miserable.  The typical upper-end age that CF sufferers live to be is mid-twenties.  Many die far younger.

This little girl obviously had a pretty severe case, being as her young lungs were toasted enough at age 12 that they wanted to do a lung transplant – an operation that only has a 50% 5 year survival average.  To try to do this on a 12 year old is almost unheard of, and probably exposes the fact that this little girl is very, very sick. 

From what I understand, the new lungs won’t cure her CF.  They, too, will degrade over time, and given the first go-around, will likely be shot before her 25th birthday, at which time she’ll die, or need a new set of lungs.  This will go on until her death – needing a new set of lungs every 12 years, or die, and that’s assuming that she makes the 50% at 5 year cut every time, and her body never rejects her new breathing apparatus’, which will kill her. 

She is literally living with the sword of Damocles hanging over her head, and it is dangling by a thread. 

So here’s my point:

Quit fucking complaining all the time, you goddamned wussy...  

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