Massachusetts lawmakers seek protections against discrimination in organ transplants


BOSTON >> Declaring that life-saving medical care has been denied to people with disabilities, Massachusetts lawmakers are seeking to add new protections for people seeking organ transplants.

The bill has the backing of the Massachusetts Down Syndrome Congress, whose executive director said a 2008 Stanford University survey of 88 transplant centers found that 85 percent of pediatric transplant centers consider intellectual or developmental disability as a factor at least some of the time when determining eligibility for the procedure.

"They might have a misperception that the quality of a life for a person with a disability isn't what they would consider a good quality of life, so they might say, 'Well, maybe they aren't as much in need of a transplant as somebody else,' " Maureen Gallagher, the group's executive director, told the News Service. She said, "It's old, outdated, stereotypical attitudes. Continue reading

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