This is very disturbing. An autistic man has been denied a heart transplant, apparently because of his mental disability. From the AP story:

In a letter, dated June 13, 2011, Dr. Susan Brozena wrote: “I have recommended against transplant given his psychiatric issues, autism, the complexity of the process, multiple procedures and the unknown and unpredictable effect of steroids on behavior.” His mother said she was taken aback by the decision and noted that her son, who is diagnosed with Pervasive Developmental Disorder, was upset by the decision, but optimistic that a transplant could come. “He just needs a fighting chance and the same rights to medical care as others his age,” she said in a statement. “Autism is not a terminal disease and we cannot allow it to become one.”

Wait a minute. Without the surgery, he will probably die. Risk the behavior issues.

If someone’s mental condition makes it unlikely they will be able to care for themselves properly after transplant to the point of becoming medically compromised, it could be one thing, given the current triage for organs. But we should not deny transplants simply because of things like autism, Down syndrome, or invidious ”quality of life” judgmentalism. That denies human exceptionalism and unacceptably discriminates against those with mental illnesses and developmental disabilities.

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Wesley J. Smith, J.D., Special Consultant to the CBC
Wesley J. Smith, J.D., Special Consultant to the CBC