Sunday, August 19, 2012

Man Denied Needed Heart Transplant because of Autism

Here is a truly devastating failure by the health community to respect the differences associated with autism.  Paul Corby, a twenty three year old man, was denied a heart transplant that might save his life, apparently because of his autism.  The request to placed on the waiting list for a heart transplant was denied by a physician at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.   The doctor in question wrote the following statement back to the man's mother: "'I have recommended against transplant given his psychiatric issues, autism, the complexity of the process, multiple procedures and the unknown and unpredictable effect of steroids on behavior.'" (click here to see my source).  This left the Paul's mother "devastated."

This hits me on a very personal level.  Why should a person who is on the autism spectrum be treated differently than anyone else?  Another source following this story states that more than 3000 people die while waiting for a heart transplant, and that is when they have been placed on the waiting lists.  Paul has been denied that very chance.  This second article also produces the difficult question: who can decide whether a life is not worth saving?

What are your thoughts about this story?  Feel free to leave any comments you might have below.


  1. I think if the right people or even if enough people take action against this, something could be done. Things like this can be changed if people take a stand.

  2. This is so terrible. I have a daughter who has p.d.d.n.o.s. and I can't imagine what I would do if she was denied treatment. This discrimation has to stop.