When Health Care is Unjust

A confessed killer who damaged his liver in a botched suicide attempt was given a transplant ahead of a cancer sufferer who has been waiting for more than a year for an organ, the New York Post reported Monday.

New York City resident Kerry Sullivan, 53, must wait for a cadaver liver from an elderly donor or find his own living donor, while Johnny Concepcion, 42, got a transplant days after he confessed to fatally stabbing his wife and downing rat poison in a suicide attempt that destroyed his liver.

"It's a waste of an organ," Sullivan said. "It's ludicrous. Not only did they give it to a killer, but a suicidal killer. How this guy can get priority, with all the thousands of people waiting, is outrageous."

As of mid-July, 50 New York liver-transplant candidates died this year waiting for an organ, according to the Organ Procurement and Transplant Network.

"It's extremely frustrating, and it's scary to know that I could die before I find a donor," Sullivan said. "My wait is excruciating — as it is for everyone out there waiting."

I know - this case is not exactly related to lymphoma, but the issue is connected. With limited - finite - resources, how do we decide who is more worthy? And who should decide?

It's also a reminder to me that even with cases like this which appear to be unjust, being an organ donor is still valuable. Even cancer patients can often become donors if they wish.

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