June 12, 2013

"God is great! He moved the mountain! Sarah got THE CALL."

Dying 10-year-old whose family wanted her on the list to receive adult lungs, is getting her lungs.

59 comments:

edutcher said...

So the Silver Haired Angel of Death couldn't be moved (hey, it was only a little kid; her pal Tiller waxed dozens a day, right?), so it took a Federal District Court judge to save this little girl.

Medicine in ObamAmerica

Inga said...

Rightist baby boomers are dying off at accelerated rates, whoopie! Death panels, dont'cha know? Lefties will get the good insurance, heheh.

Yeah, sounds like GREAT insurance to me.

Better lawyer up next time you get the flu.

PS Lynx bad.

Achilles said...

Did her parents make the appropriate political contribution? Or say the right things in their emails? Remember Obama is watching and only the right(left) people get new lungs.

edutcher said...

Sounds like an evil, Lefty (I repeat myself) Santa Claus.

I think Mussolini had something like that.

Jane said...

So the link didn't work, and I googled to look for the article. Actually I used bing, which is how my browser defaults and I haven't changed it. I typed in 10 year old lung transplant, which got me the article I wanted, but also offered my related searches: 10 year olds modeling pictures, 10 year olds kissing, 10 year olds making love.

Creepy.

Achilles said...

edutcher said...

Sounds like an evil, Lefty (I repeat myself) Santa Claus.

I think Mussolini had something like that.

6/12/13, 1:16 PM

So you believe one of the serf's made a petition to their betters, was vetted for proper thinking, and was sponsored by one of their rulers? That is very plausible in Obama land.

Jane said...

So the link didn't work, and I googled to look for the article. Actually I used bing, which is how my browser defaults and I haven't changed it. I typed in 10 year old lung transplant, which got me the article I wanted, but also offered my related searches: 10 year olds modeling pictures, 10 year olds kissing, 10 year olds making love.

Creepy.

Henry said...

Here's the link.

It's wonderful that a child might not die.

It's terribly sad that THE CALL is a zero-sum game. Someone else will die.

God is not great.

Patrick said...

And who is it that we don't see? The child, or the person who would have gotten those lungs but for this girl's fight.

I read the article on NBC, and the article said that since they revised the prioritizing requirements, they have significantly reduced the numbers dying while on the list.

But, if I were the parent of this child, there is very little I would not do to save her, including possibly sacrificing the life of a nameless person. I don't know, and pray I won't find out.

rhhardin said...

If you could sell organs, they'd have enough lungs for everybody.

As it is, only the medical establishment is allowed to make money on transplants.

Result: shortage.

As if that weren't predictable.

Patrick said...

Those results are a bit disturbing, Jane. Yikes.

Ann Althouse said...

"And who is it that we don't see? The child, or the person who would have gotten those lungs but for this girl's fight."

Exactly.

Plus, God is great for letting someone die in a way that made their lungs transplantable.

Achilles said...

Henry said...

Here's the link.

It's wonderful that a child might not die.

It's terribly sad that THE CALL is a zero-sum game. Someone else will die.

God is not great.

6/12/13, 1:30 PM

This is exactly the problem with the leftist model of health care. They believe in zero sum operations where the government determines the right person to be saved. They want it to be fair.

Market based health care would foster and reward innovation. But leftists don't believe in expanding the pie. They want to control the pie.

edutcher said...

Achilles said...

Sounds like an evil, Lefty (I repeat myself) Santa Claus.

I think Mussolini had something like that.


So you believe one of the serf's made a petition to their betters, was vetted for proper thinking, and was sponsored by one of their rulers? That is very plausible in Obama land.


It's happened before.

El Pollo Raylan said...

rhhardin said...
If you could sell organs, they'd have enough lungs for everybody.

An organ shortage allows someone to impersonate God.

edutcher said...

Soylent comes in many colors.

El Pollo Raylan said...

Tangential, but we saw the importance of "playing God" earlier with Obama's "stopping the rising seas" rhetoric.

He certainly has stopped the economic tides from rising, thus stranding all boats.

Mitchell the Bat said...

She'll have adult lungs so I say she should be allowed to smoke.

Jane said...

What are the numbers? -- how many usable organs are not, in fact, used, because the individual was not an organ donor/the family declined organ donation? How often is this because of religious/philosophical reasons ("I want my body whole when it's buried") and how often because of a fear that doctors will jump the gun and declare brain death too soon? (I read a book not long ago that asserted that doctors are performing tests for brain death in a rather perfunctory way, and declining more definitive scans, in order to harvest organs quickly. I don't know how credible the author is, and don't remember the title.) Is this a solvable problem, or will there always be people dying because they didn't get THE CALL?

BarrySanders20 said...

Quit bitching and sign up to be an organ donor. If you have already, then get 10 friends to sign up as well. Then try to get more people to do so as well. Talk to doctors and others whose lives were extended by the altruism of someone else.

Maybe the market should be allowed to work. But right now more potential volunteer donors helps.



Peter said...

I guess if I got THE CALL I wouldn't much care whether it had been due to human or divine intervention.

BUT this still seems an arbitrary way to allocate a limited, often life-saving resource.

Patrick said...

Quit bitching and sign up to be an organ donor. If you have already, then get 10 friends to sign up as well. Then try to get more people to do so as well. Talk to doctors and others whose lives were extended by the altruism of someone else.

Maybe the market should be allowed to work. But right now more potential volunteer donors helps.


No, continue the bitching and sign up to be an organ donor.

If potential volunteers help, you'd get more of them with a market based system.

AllenS said...

Not all lungs are transferrable to everyone who needs as lung transplant. Am I correct? Don't you have to be compatable? Same blood type and other such criteria?

AllenS said...

"as lung" = "a lung"

RecChief said...

call them and ask for tips. when PPACA is fully implemented we will all be supplicants to the state for medical care.

Freeman Hunt said...

God is always great; we just tend to recognize it more easily when something makes us happy.

Larry J said...

Achilles said...
Did her parents make the appropriate political contribution? Or say the right things in their emails? Remember Obama is watching and only the right(left) people get new lungs.


She's getting this chance at life because her parents went public and the child is a sympathetic figure. According to the news stories, she was more critical than anyone else on the transplant list but children's lungs don't become available for transplantation very often.

No one wants to see a little kid suffer and die because of a seemingly arbitrary guideline. She was prohibited from receiving adult lungs because she was 10, not the 12 year old cutoff. Is there a valid medical reason for that cutoff? Perhaps her body is too small for adult lungs. I honestly don't know.

There are a finite number of lungs that come available for transplantation each year and some people will die before receiving their chance. The list isn't static, though. As a person's condition gets worse, they can move higher on the transplant list. That being the case, it isn't certain that someone else will die because she got the lungs although that could happen.

RecChief said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
RecChief said...

Jane are you saying that everyone should be forced to be organ donors? Or did I misread your lament that not everyone who can donate, does?

Larry J said...

AllenS said...

Not all lungs are transferrable to everyone who needs as lung transplant. Am I correct? Don't you have to be compatable? Same blood type and other such criteria?


I do believe you're correct. The closer the match, the better the chance that the body won't reject the new organs.

One of the most interesting areas of medical research is the use of adult stem cells to grow new organs. It's likely this won't be available for another 10 to 20 years but if they succeed, organ donations may become a thing of the past. They're already doing it instead of bone marrow transplants whenever possible for lymphoma and leukemia. Researchers are learning how to get a person's own stem cells to turn into different types of tissue. It's fascinating research with a lot of potential.

Smilin' Jack said...

God is great! He moved the mountain!

Not to be a wet blanket or anything, but wasn't it God who dropped that mountain on her in the first place?

Jane said...

I don't believe anyone should be forced to be an organ donor. Just wondering if anyone has stats on how much room for improvement there is among people who decline for no particular reason who could be persuaded otherwise (for themselves or the deceased loved one for whom they're next-of-kin).

Lem said...

Sarah from the bible couldn't have a baby... So I naturally interpreted 'getting the call' as a euphemism from a Dr Laura or somebody like that.

Got me again. lol

bpm4532 said...

Of course, if she had been the daughter of the president, it wouldn't have had to go to a judge.

Xmas said...

In case you're wondering, adult lungs are too big for a small child, which is why the 12 year-old cutoff was in place. What I've read is that 1/3rd of lung transplant patients die within 3 years as transplants require immune system suppresants, which leads to greater risk of infection, which is just terrible for transplanted lungs.

Putting lungs that are too large into a small body just adds another risk.

Larry J said...

Xmas said...
In case you're wondering, adult lungs are too big for a small child, which is why the 12 year-old cutoff was in place. What I've read is that 1/3rd of lung transplant patients die within 3 years as transplants require immune system suppresants, which leads to greater risk of infection, which is just terrible for transplanted lungs.

Putting lungs that are too large into a small body just adds another risk.


Kids come in all sizes. The standard should be based on some size criteria such as chest volume instead of age. Age is too arbitrary to make a standard. If they used chest volume, they could then determine if a given set of adult lungs was too large. Adults come in all sizes, too.

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

Why can't we sell our body parts? What's the downside? We're all already dead it's not like we need the parts anymore.

Or how about switching to having to opt out of transplants? Make the non-donor symbol an upraised middle finger.

As for this case, it should be a medical decision if the child gets a lung. Not some arbitrary age cut-off imposed by the government.

AllenS said...

I don't believe that they put in the whole lung. From what I've heard, they only need one lobe, or about 1/3 of the lung. Doctors, need some help here.

Larry J said...

Bill, Republic of Texas said...
Why can't we sell our body parts? What's the downside? We're all already dead it's not like we need the parts anymore.


The only people allowed to make money off of organ transplants are the hospitals and medical staff. The donor's families get squat. There is a legitimate concern that live poor people might be cohersed into donating organs for cash as has reportedly happened in other countries. I hold out long-term hope that adult stem cell organs will make donation obsolete in the not-too-distant future. Until then, my directions to my family are to strip me for parts and burn the rest.

ampersand said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bill, Republic of Texas said...

Those are my instructions too. Burn me then toss the ashes in the dumpster.

So sick people die to keep some poor person from making a choice the nannies do not approve of. Sounds about right.

Michael K said...

"Putting lungs that are too large into a small body just adds another risk. "

The use in kids involves transplanting one lobe to each side. There is another kid in that hospital waiting for a transplant. Why not use the other lobes for him ? Maybe there is only one team but it seems possible. That way, you get two kids saved from one donor.

Vaughn Starnes has done a number of transplants using the parents as donors; one lobe from each.

Geoff Matthews said...

I would be hesitant to thank God for a donor organ. Someone died to provide that, and there is someone (or someones) mourning that person right now.

AllenS said...

Thank you, Michael K.

Cedarford said...

Larry J said...
Bill, Republic of Texas said...
Why can't we sell our body parts? What's the downside? We're all already dead it's not like we need the parts anymore.

The only people allowed to make money off of organ transplants are the hospitals and medical staff. The donor's families get squat. There is a legitimate concern that live poor people might be cohersed into donating organs for cash as has reportedly happened in other countries.
======================
There is little incentive to donate or give a deceased loved ones "parts" up, aside from pure altruism.
But aside from the donor and family, there are a lot of people making a mint off body part donations. The well-paid "cutter teams" that harvest parts. The fabulously wealthy doctors and lawyers that made fortunes being the owners and brokers of body tissue banks. Surgeons groups that have premium paid women selected for "unusual empathy" - hired to talk families into donating. Even bonuses for attending physicians and nurses that can cajole a family into signing off on a tissue bank getting the goods - not the old or cancer-filled junk - but premium new stuff that can be cut up and marketed by medical services providers.

But no incentive to family, and none of this wealth for "services provided" is kicked to the patients costs by those getting top dollar because they are "medical care providers or emoployees" of med services.

Drug firms will not lower cost based on what transplant patients can afford (aside from gov't picking up all the tab for convicts, welfare families) so that is a factor in the "ability to afford care" that is a part of the "Priority List Algorithm".

Besides that, there is a "cultural, religious reluctance" to donate in many groups(Muslims, blacks, among others)..But they are given the same priority for transplant as the groups known to be the best "sources" of donations.

After 40 years, the same groups donate, the same ones refuse to consider it despite "educational outreach", and the same people get rich while the same working poor end up on the bottom of such lists. And families of donors and their friends get no consideration.

Its time to incentivize. We live in a time when databases flourish, so it wouldn't be hard to make one up where the donor knows his or her friends and loved ones get some consideration in consequence of the donation of body parts. Not just a little more preference where none exists now on waiting lists, but a substantial cut in price for Hero Med caregiver services and autoimmune drug costs.

Let a donor have a donor designation on card or other file...and name 30 friends or family, that should they need a transplant down the road, get preference on cost and priority. And if blacks, Muslims, etc. suffer from reluctance of their relatives or friends to consider donating - so be it.

Cedarford said...

I think we should also incentivize blood donors - I have an aunt that was a 30 gallon donor, plus who as a nurse worked for Red Cross blood drives.
Later in life, when she came down with multiple myloma and needed blood transfusions..her past altruism and donations meant squat to the sellers and brokers and "caregivers". They charged her and her Medicaid, supplemental ins providers full cost.
One of her complaints that made the rounds to relatives: "You know, if I had gotten this terminal cancer 20 years ago, those vampires would be happy to sell back the blood I just gave them for free and that they stored - at 500 dollars a pint. Makes me wonder about all those Red Cross drives I did...well, I suppose it did more good than make certain people a lot of money"

bagoh20 said...

I remember getting that call. 10am, I'm at work with my terminal condition entirely out of my mind. I have not thought of it for a while. I've been busy with stuff. I take the call and they tell me I have 2 hours to get to the hospital. Don't bring anything, but get there stat. Which means I might have two hours to live, or to change everything for the better. The payoff for months of daily tests, a hundred forms filled out, constant bloodletting, more tests, endless doctor appointments, hours in waiting rooms, and endless ups and downs. This is it. The final coin toss. Hey the sky is really blue, and this might be the last time I see it. I tell a few key people at work that I'm up to bat, and I really appreciated working with them, and I hope to talk to them soon. Bye.

On the way, I call my mother in Florida, and tell her I need her to get on a plane and get here to L.A. - my surgery is gonna be today. "I love you. I'll see you in recovery afterward. Everything will be fine." It was - very, very fine.

bagoh20 said...

As to blood donors, I've mentioned it before, but the only reason I'm alive today is because I gave blood after 9/11. That's how I found out I had problems - when they tested my blood. The life you save may be your own.

AllenS said...

You're a good man, bags.

Larry J said...

"Please pray for Sarah's donor, her HERO, who has given her the gift of life," Janet Murnaghan wrote. "Today their family has experienced a tremendous loss, may God grant them a peace that surpasses understanding."

Larry J said...

"Please pray for Sarah's donor, her HERO, who has given her the gift of life," Janet Murnaghan wrote. "Today their family has experienced a tremendous loss, may God grant them a peace that surpasses understanding."

Petunia said...

Glad your transplant went well, bagoh20, and hope it continues!

I can't give blood because I lived in England during the 1980s and they are worried about prions. I am, however, on the organ donor list. The risk of my having prions is very low, and I've been told that some things, like tendons, could be used without risk.

As for other things, like my liver, I was told it might be used. The recipient would be told of the very tiny risk of their getting CJD from my organs, as opposed to the much-higher risk of dying if they wait for someone else's organs. Who knows if this would actually happen. I won't care. I'll be dead.

As for this girl, she apparently is getting a double lung transplant. Sadly, CF does NOT just affect the lungs, AND it will affect these lungs, AND she doesn't have a great long-term prognosis. She was already a poor surgical risk, having been in an induced coma for several days.

I also wonder why neither of her parents donated part of all of one of their lungs to her. I haven't seen that addressed anywhere.

I hope it works, and she lives a good long life, BUT if it doesn't, the backlash is going to be HUGE, because her new lungs could have gone to someone with a better prognosis. And, perhaps, to someone who's already making a tangible, good contribution to society, as opposed to someone who MIGHT make one someday.

Not that that's a consideration, of course.

bagoh20 said...

I always wonder about kids with terrible illness like those on chemo or going through a tough surgery like this. Do they understand why they are in such pain? Why they can't play? Why it just keeps going on and on? Can anyone explain? Does it help?

It's so very hard at times, and often time after time. I know it was very hard as an adult who understands all the whys and justifications for your suffering, and how it will eventually pay off. Do kids get all that? Is it easier or harder for them? It's certainly much harder to see kids dealing with it, because we feel helpless to do our job and protect them, and if they are too young, we can't even explain why it is. That's really a helpless feeling.

Roux said...

In the future only cute or sympathetic or politically connected will get the life saving procedures.

Michael K said...

"I always wonder about kids with terrible illness like those on chemo or going through a tough surgery like this. Do they understand why they are in such pain? Why they can't play? Why it just keeps going on and on? Can anyone explain? Does it help?"

Kids are amazingly resilient. I remember one kid, who happened to be the grandson of a famous actor. This kid was born with a huge ventricular septal defect, a heart defect. He was operated on as a newborn and had a band put on his pulmonary artery which is palliative until they are bigger.

He spent 18 months in Childrens' Hospital on a respirator. He had an IV in his left femoral vein so long that he could not straighten out his leg. Finally, he was allowed to go home with real concerns that he was going to be mentally damaged by that experience.

I took care of him when he came back at age 5 for his heart repair. He was a great little kid. He would make rounds with us wearing his little bathrobe and helping to carry stuff. He had his VSD repair and did fine. The defect was smaller than anticipated. His mother was a basket case, of course, but he was fine. Later, he came back to have the ligaments in his left hip released so he didn't limp.

A year later, I was in private practice and took care of him a couple of times when he fell out of a tree. He was a normal little kid and now he is a businessman of 46.

The kids with terminal illness are heartbreaking but they get amazingly well adjusted to the situation as long as they are not in constant pain.

bagoh20 said...

Michael,
Why would the IV need to be that long? I would assume if it's in the vein, it would work shorter too, but dammit, I'm not a doctor, I'm a starship captain.

NotquiteunBuckley said...

Frankly these types of decisions somewhat justify drug overdosers' choices as just trying to escape all the horror with pain.

Vanity isn't all that matters, only assholes think that really.

What matters matters within a mind; especially being within eyesight is what matters most in many dreadful decisions I hate to think about.

STOP BRAIN

NotquiteunBuckley said...

BRAIN STOP:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aqualung_(Jethro_Tull_album)

bagoh20 said...

Just heard it reported that she is out of surgery, and the parents say it was a success.

Michael K said...

"Why would the IV need to be that long?"

He was on the respirator the whole time. That was 1967 and now we would probably put a feeding tube in him but that was what was done then.

It was just amazing that he was so normal after all that. The kids who had heart surgery, and that's who I was working with, were up playing a day after surgery. He, of course, was an infant, really a newborn when the thing began, and his first 18 months of life were on a respirator in the days when that was really unusual.