Back in June, I published a series of essays about efforts to fly people around the country to give them better access to life-saving organ transplants. For your convenience, I have pulled the three essays together into one PDF. As a teaser, I will remind you of the first few paragraphs of the essay. But if you click on this link, you can get access to the PDF: Your New Liver Is Only a Learjet Away by Peter Ubel.
The forty million dollar Gulfstream jet landed at Memphis International airport in the early morning hours, its schedule hastily arranged earlier that day from Northern California, where the flight originated. Waiting on the tarmac was Dr. James Eason, head of transplant surgery at Methodist University Hospital, who planned on whisking the passenger to the operating room for a liver transplant. The passenger rushed to Memphis not because he lived in Memphis and happened to be out of town when an organ became available, but rather because he knew that flying from his home in Northern California to Tennessee would give him his best chance of receiving a life-saving organ.
You see, the demand for transplantable livers in Northern California far outstrips the supply, meaning there is a decent chance a patient with end-stage liver disease will die before a replacement organ becomes available. But in Tennessee, the number of people waiting for a liver transplants is significantly smaller, per capita, than California, and as a result the supply of transplanted livers is much better matched to the demand for such organs.
The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.