Virginia Mason Hospital in Seattle is one of the transplant centers that turned down Mr. Simchen:
Alisha Mark, a spokeswoman for Virginia Mason, would not discuss details of Simchen's case because of medical privacy regulations, but said that "any patient who smokes any product -- tobacco, cloves, medical marijuana -- would be precluded from receiving a transplant here."At Virginia Mason, even tobacco use disqualifies you from getting a transplant, no matter how bad you need one.
Why does this kind of thing happen? Here's one possible explanation from ABC's story:
Transplant centers tend to be very careful because they survive financially based on the number of successful transplants they do, explains Maxwell J. Mehlman, director of the Law-Medicine Center at Case Western Reserve University. "They use a screening process to avoid people who might be failures and they look at several factors from drug use to having a support system," he said. "It has actually been a source of bioethical controversy because it allows them to reject homeless people and people who live alone. In some cases, it's a backdoor way of rationing based on social worth and lifestyles."
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