Organ transplantation: patient rejected for psychiatric illnesses, hospital did not commit disability discrimination.

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Two registered nurses who served on the hospital's organ-transplant selection committee were among the defendants recently named in a disability-discrimination lawsuit filed on behalf of an unsuccessful applicant for a kidney transplant.

ADA Does Apply To Decisions Allocating Transplant Organs

The US District Court for the District of Nebraska did validate the underlying legal premise of the patient's lawsuit.

The Americans With Disability Act says that hospitals, as places of public accommodation, cannot discriminate on the basis of a patient's disability in rendering patient care.

However, in this case the committee's decision was based on legitimate medical reasons and thus was not discriminatory, the court ruled.

Legitimate Medical Reasons

The patient had been institutionalized in a psychiatric developmental center for sixteen years before he applied for a transplant. His assessment for transplant suitability included a comprehensive psychiatric evaluation which produced a current diagnosis of delusional disorder, persecutory...

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