Assignment - Who gets the Kidney vMeldrum

Organ Donation Assignment
At the Ottawa General Hospital, a kidney has become available for transplant from a patient who
has just died. The patient has already signed a donor card, and the family agreed that any organs should
be available for transplant.
You are a member of the transplant committee and your task is to review the list of potential
recipients and recommend who should receive the kidney.
List of Potential Kidney Transplant Patients:
Alice is a 40 year old single mother of three children (ages 11, 8, 3). Her kidneys failed because of
complications with diabetes, and her doctor believes that she contributed to her condition by not following
her strict diabetic diet. The chances of survival with a new kidney are good (70%) if her diabetes can be
controlled. She has no immediate family who could care for her children in the event of her death.
Bashir is a 27 year old Palestinian man who recently became a Canadian citizen along with his wife
and two children (ages 3 and 1). He is a medical intern who wishes to practise medicine in Canada. His
kidneys were injured in a car accident. A transplant has an 80% chance of recovery.
Chondra is an 8 year old girl who was born with weak kidneys. Her kidneys are gradually failing and
she undergoes dialysis several days a week and misses school often. At the current rate of deterioration,
her kidneys will fail completely in about a years. There is a 75% chance that she will do well with the new
kidney. However, there is a 25% chance that the same defect that caused her original kidneys to fail will
also damage the new kidney.
David is a 30 year old ex-convict (gas station robbery) whose kidneys were injured when he was
attacked in a fight while he was in prison. He has been on parole for two years and is completely
reformed. He has a steady job, a wife and a child on the way. Apart from his kidney damage, he is
completely healthy and would be expected to live a normal life (95%) only if he receives a kidney within
the next three months.
Evelyn is a 19 year old lesbian university student. She suddenly collapsed one day as a result of a
rare kidney defect and had to be rushed to the emergency ward. She has received daily dialysis for the
past year. She is expected to recover fully (95%) with a transplant.
François is a 68 year old business man. His kidneys were damaged in an unusual food poisoning
accident in which he was infected by E. coli O157:H7. He is one of the richest men in the country and
has always given generously of his time and money to various charities. He has exercised regularly all of
his life and is in great physical condition. Chances are (80%) that he could live another healthy 15 years.
The Member of Parliament for his district has written a letter to the hospital on his behalf asking for
special consideration and a quick transplant.
Geraldo is a 22 year old fire fighter. While fighting a fire, he went back into a burning building to save
an elderly lady and part of the building fell on him. His ribs were broken, kidneys severely damaged and
he suffered first and second degree burns to most of his body. Since the accident, he has experienced
numbness in his legs and doctors suspect that he may also have suffered some damage to his spinal
cord that could lead to partial paralysis. The transplant has an 85% chance of success.
You will need to:
1) Come up with a list of questions or criteria that should be asked to guide you in your decision making.
2) Choose a patient to receive the kidney, explain your choice and justify your recommendation.
3) In Ontario at present if you wish to donate your organs you must “opt-in” by signing an organ donation
card and/or registering with the Ministry of Health. At present in Ontario there is a shortage of organs
for donations. More than 1,700 Ontarians are waiting for a life-saving organ transplant and many
others are waiting for a tissue transplant. One donor can save up to 8 lives. In other parts of the
world if you don’t wish to donate your organ you may “opt out” otherwise it is presumed you agree to
donate your organs. Recently it has been suggested that the health care system could start paying
people $10,000 to donate a kidney. This brings around a whole new group of issues. Which system
do you think is better and justify your choice. There are many implications to both sides. Consider all
implications carefully and thoroughly.
Please type up your responses to the above questions.
Due Date: ______________________________
Suggested websites:
National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia, Ethical Aspects of Organ and Tissue
Donation - Advice for Health Professionals and Consumers, 1997
Service Ontario, About Donation, Frequently Asked Questions
Trillium Gift of Life Network.,
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