Alcoholics and Liver Transplantation
JAMA. 1991 Mar 13; 265(10): 1299-1301.
There is widespread unwillingness to consider patients with alcoholic cirrhosis for liver transplantation. Cohen and Benjamin examine the two arguments that underlie the exclusion of alcoholics from a potentially life-saving procedure. The first, a moral argument, holds that alcoholics are to blame for their condition, and that this blame excludes them from competition for scarce donor livers with other patients with end-stage liver disease who are not to blame for their illness. The second argument, taken from a medical perspective, holds that alcoholics do not do well after liver transplantation, and that scarce donor livers should not be allocated to a group with a poor survival rate. Cohen and Benjamin reject as unfair and unacceptable both arguments for withholding liver transplantation from alcoholics. They also reject the argument that public support for transplantation will suffer if it becomes known that donated organs are going to alcoholics. (KIE abstract)
Alcohol Abuse; Disease; Discrimination; Illness; Justice; Life; Livers; Liver Transplantation; Moral Policy; Patients; Policy Analysis; Prognosis; Public Opinion; Public Policy; Resource Allocation; Scarcity; Selection for Treatment; Social Discrimination; Standards; Tissue Transplantation; Transplantation;
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