A Matter of Life or Death

I’m not sure if I have an opinion as to who should win, but I am very curious as to the outcome of a recently filed lawsuit here in Ontario. It is a matter of life and death, but also a question of taking responsibility and discovering actions have consequences.

A seriously ill man is suing to have his name added to Ontario’s transplant list. He needs a new liver or he will certainly die. He is an alcoholic and has been told he is ineligible until he can say he has been sober for six months. Alcohol, if you didn’t know it, damages and destroys livers if consumed in excess. The gentleman in question has been told he might not last the six months before his name makes the list (and we won’t get into the probability of a match once on the list).

He says his rights are being violated because his name isn’t on the transplant list. The agency responsible says the rules are in place for a reason. Organs for transplant are a scarce resource, and they want to be sure any alcoholic receiving a new liver won’t abuse it.

I must admit having a certain sympathy with the transplant agency and a complete understanding of their position. However, I’m not sure if that doesn’t mean they are playing God, which is not their role. The past isn’t always a predictor of the future.

I could spend a few hundred well-chosen words presenting the argument for either or both sides, but I would probably be no closer to a conclusion. So I thought instead to give you your say.

So what do you think? Should this man receive a chance at life? (Being on the transplant list is no guarantee of a matching organ). Or does he now have to understand that he made choices earlier in life to drink and damage his liver, and now must accept the consequences of his actions?



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