Feds: Patient With Intellectual Disability Blocked From Organ Transplant List
Federal officials say that a major university health care system will change its ways after denying a person with intellectual disability the opportunity to be placed on a transplant list.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights said it has reached a resolution with the University of North Carolina Health Care system over a complaint alleging that a doctor decided that an individual with intellectual disability would not be a good candidate for a heart transplant because of their disabilities and the fact that the person does not live independently.
The complaint, which was brought in September 2018, indicated that the individual would eventually die without the transplant.
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Under the agreement announced this month, UNC Health Care will amend the patient’s medical records to say that they are eligible to be considered for a spot on the transplant list.
In addition, HHS’ Office for Civil Rights said that it will provide technical assistance to the health care system in the development of their transplant eligibility policy.
“Every life is precious and no one should be blocked from access to an organ transplant because of stereotypes about persons with disabilities. It is also against the law,” said Roger Severino, director of the HHS Office for Civil Rights.
The resolution was reached through a facilitated negotiation between the health care system and the complainant, the Office for Civil Rights said.
In a statement, UNC Health Care denied wrongdoing.
“While we cannot comment on individual patients, UNC Health Care has not denied any patient access to transplant because of that individual’s disability status, nor was there any finding by OCR that we did so,” the statement said. “Information to the contrary is a mischaracterization. UNC Health Care continually reviews and updates policies to ensure all patients are able to access appropriate medical care.”
(Updated: February 18, 2019 at 3:22 p.m. ET)