Explore BrainMass

Transplant Case Study - Mickey Mantle

I need help on a transplant case regarding Mickey Mantle.

Mickey Mantle (former baseball player) received a liver transplant in 1995 due to his liver failing from cirrhosis and hepatitis. He received the transplant after two days when there is a waiting list of 40,000 people on a list that generally takes 130 days. He received the liver with only having a 60% chance of living vs. average people having about a 75% chance. People speculated that he was favored becase he was famous.

What are the ethical and/or bio-ethical issues that may apply to this case?
What are the values and rules influencing ethical conflict?
What are the possible alternatives for the case?
If an ethics committee reviewed the case, what value would it have provided and considerations might it have considered in making the decision to proceed with the transplant?

Solution Preview

In a democratic society we want to believe things are equitable and there is justice. There is a spiritual component that is difficult to quantify like math or accounting. People that are at the top of the list and in a high probably of transplant success but find the procedure fails, might view the episode as bad luck.

While Mickey Mantle was not an important scientist, leader or brilliant businessman, what if he had been? Will a culture take the chance of the individual passing away while waiting? If not, what is considered important? Which types of people are considered worthy and which are not? Does a wealthy person have a better chance of getting the surgery? Readers now may hardly remember the man or news, unless a die-hard baseball fan or family member remembers his fame.

The easy alternatives are to state up front that all persons go to the end of the line, without exception. Changing the criteria, enabling some people to take cuts in the line, is another alternative and going all the way to the Supreme Court, if necessary, to make sure there is a fair and good system would be another option.

The fact is that science mutates and even the best doctors ...

Solution Summary

Organ transplant priorities are discussed.