Regarding Timothy P. Shriver’s April 10 Sunday Opinion commentary, “Put Lily back on the transplant list”:
Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital provides high-quality, compassionate care to our patients and their families. We care deeply for every child who looks to us for healing, and we are humbled by the responsibility God has given us.
We often face complex ethical challenges regarding a child’s care. In such times, we lean on our guiding policies and principles, grounded in national standards. We rejoice when we heal these children and mourn with children and families who live with the pain and suffering of their conditions.
Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital has never declined a child for transplant based solely on the child’s cognitive status or developmental delay. Transplants have been successfully conducted on patients with cognitive impairment or other complicating factors such as cerebral palsy. Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital fully supports the Americans With Disabilities Act.
When questions concerning a patient’s suitability for organ transplantation exist, we consult with experts in other transplant centers in California concerning whether a patient with a given set of conditions would be a suitable candidate in their institutions. We also seek input from national experts regarding the appropriate allocation of organs for transplantation.
Patients or surrogate decision-makers for a patient may choose to engage in public or media discussion of issues surrounding patient care. Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital believes medical decision-making is a deeply personal matter. Accordingly, we respectfully decline to engage in public discussion of clinical facts and circumstances surrounding specific patients.
Garrett Caldwell, Loma Linda, Calif.
The writer is executive director for public affairs
at Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital.
Timothy P. Shriver’s advocacy for 4-month-old Lily Parra gave an argument for one needy baby but no context. How many babies are on the list, and how many hearts are available? A list implies that there are fewer hearts than babies who need them. What criteria are used in making the choice? Because a healthy heart, available because of someone else’s tragedy, is a precious thing, the chances of survival and thriving should play a role; otherwise, the rate of failed transplants would rise, with the necessary corollary that babies with fewer risk factors would die.
I hope a good deal of thought goes into the design of this delicate and, for some, heartbreaking process.
Greg McBride, Silver Spring