I remember some discussion about Dick Cheney being too old when he got a "new" heart. The idea being, I believe, was that he was nearing the end of his life and the heart could go to better use (well that and the fact that folks just hate his ass, but that's irrelevant to this conversation). It, honestly, seemed really pretty cold to me but maybe it's just being more pragmatic with a very limited resource. During the healthcare debate, Obama, himself, suggested that there becomes a time when someone should stop trying to live longer and opt for the pain pill instead.
poll in progress
I voted "Dick Cheney had a heart?"
But seriously, while I would be hesitant to make an outright law, because the supply factors of any given area are different and thus may make it possible to help more (or fewer) people, there is something that bugs me a bit.
It's not that it's Cheney specifically. It's that it's a famous, powerful person. Because I know that it is really, really hard to get a vital organ -- especially a heart. And every little thing that might make you less than ideal, the transplant board will take into account. Being in your 70's would definitely be one such thing. So is being obviously overweight.
The reality is, deciding who gets donor organs has always been a cold, calculated business. It has to be. There aren't enough to go around. Transplant boards decide who gets them by looking at the harshest facts of a person's health and even their personality. I've seen cases of people getting denied organs for much smaller reasons than being at the end of their lives, such as the board simply not trusting them to keep up with their medication post-transplant for medical/psychological reasons. Even young otherwise healthy people.
I guarantee you than an overweight 75-year-old man who was just some random nobody from some town would not have been able to get that heart. I'd bet money on it.
It bothers me that fame and power bought a 75-year-old man a heart, when a non-famous, non-powerful 75-year-old man would not have been able to get it, and because there aren't enough hearts, an otherwise healthy 20-year-old may not have been able to get a heart either.
If I was going to make a law, it would be that the transplant board must be kept completely unaware of who the patient under consideration is, apart from their medical file.