Why Aren't Kids Given Higher Priority On Organ Waiting Lists?

According to current policy, when a child under 12 qualifies for an adult-sized organ, they're often placed on the bottom of the adult list, even if their condition is more critical, because of a lack of comparative data.

What's the Latest Development?

Earlier this week a Pennsylvania family sued the US Department of Health and Human Services in an attempt to circumvent an eight-year-old policy regarding children under 12 and adult organ transplants. A district court judge quickly ruled in their favor, which means that, until at least June 14, 10-year-old Sarah Murnaghan has been given higher priority for receiving a partial lung transplant. Without this ruling, she would have remained at a lower position, despite the severity of her condition.

What's the Big Idea?

According to current policy, transplant recipients are prioritized using a scoring system based on, among other data, the likelihood of their survival compared with others who have had similar transplant surgeries. When it comes to children under 12 who qualify for an adult-sized organ, there haven't been enough surgeries done to provide enough data. Consequently, even though Sarah had the highest score in her region, her age put her below adults with less-severe diagnoses. Writer Michael Fitzgerald notes the conundrum at the heart of the matter: "We don’t hope to have more data, because that would mean more children in need. But we need the data, because that would help society identify the patients most in need—no matter their age."

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com

Read it at Pacific Standard

James Patterson on writing: Plotting, research, and first drafts

The best-selling author tells us his methods.

  • James Patterson has sold 300 million copies of his 130 books, making him one of the most successful authors alive today.
  • He talks about how some writers can overdo it by adding too much research, or worse, straying from their outline for too long.
  • James' latest book, The President is Missing, co-written with former President Bill Clinton, is out now.
Keep reading Show less

How to vaccinate the world’s most vulnerable? Build global partnerships.

Pfizer's partnerships strengthen their ability to deliver vaccines in developing countries.

Susan Silbermann, Global President of Pfizer Vaccines, looks on as a health care worker administers a vaccine in Rwanda. Photo: Courtesy of Pfizer.
  • Community healthcare workers face many challenges in their work, including often traveling far distances to see their clients
  • Pfizer is helping to drive the UN's sustainable development goals through partnerships.
  • Pfizer partnered with AMP and the World Health Organization to develop a training program for healthcare workers.
Keep reading Show less

Why the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner won’t feature a comedian in 2019

It's the first time the association hasn't hired a comedian in 16 years.

(Photo by Anna Webber/Getty Images for Vulture Festival)
Culture & Religion
  • The 2018 WHCA ended in controversy after comedian Michelle Wolf made jokes some considered to be offensive.
  • The WHCA apologized for Wolf's jokes, though some journalists and many comedians backed the comedian and decried arguments in favor of limiting the types of speech permitted at the event.
  • Ron Chernow, who penned a bestselling biography of Alexander Hamilton, will speak at next year's dinner.
Keep reading Show less