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Cheney’s New Heart: Should Age Be Considered for Transplants?


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Doctors say it is unlikely that former Vice President **** Cheney got special treatment when he was given a new heart at age 71 that thousands of younger people also were in line to receive.


Still, his case reopens debate about whether rules should be changed to favor youth over age in giving out scarce organs. As it stands now, time on the waiting list, medical need and where you live determine the odds of scoring a new heart — not how many years you’ll live to make use of it.


“The ethical issues are not that he had a transplant, but who didn’t?” Dr. Eric Topol, a cardiologist at Scripps Health in La Jolla, Calif., wrote on Twitter.


Cheney received the transplant Saturday at Inova Fairfax Hospital in Falls Church, Va., the same place where he received an implanted heart pump that has kept him alive since July 2010. It appears he went on the transplant wait list around that time, 20 months ago.

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Age isn't a direct factor in the process - only overall health and ability to accept the transplant which of course might be affected by age.


He waited with a very sick heart for over 2 years and went through the normal process for getting one. He had a clear medical need for the heart and met all the other criteria for it. Humour aside (and there are sooo many jokes one could make :) ), he was a otherwise healthy man capable of supporting the transplant who was on the wait list for the expected amount of time. If it wasn't him receiving this and I just told you the details otherwise most people wouldn't even blink at the situation.


If he could just through money around he would've gotten it somehow sooner and wouldn't have even gotten the device installed - which was in this case a stall tactic until the heart was available.

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