MSNBC: Cheney “too old” for life saving transplant

| March 25, 2012

MSNBC has commissioned bioethicist Arthur Caplan Ph.D. to write an opinion piece contending that, considering his politics age, it was unethical for former Vice President Dick Cheney to have received a heart transplant.

Dick Cheney has just joined a list of high-profile people, including Steve Jobs, Mickey Mantle, Evil Knievel and David Crosby who, received a transplant and thereby created a controversy. Cheney received a heart on Friday from an anonymous donor at Inova Fairfax Hospital in Virginia after a 20-month wait. What is controversial about that? Cheney is 71 years old.

He has been through numerous previous operations that indicate he has other serious medical problems. He has only been able to survive due to the implantation of a left-ventricular assist device (LVAD) — a partial artificial heart — that has kept him going long past the point where his own heart could have kept him alive.

Dr. Arthur goes on to say that Cheney has exceeded the “informal” cut off observed by many surgeons…70.

Lo and behold an actual physician writing for Fox News (gasp!) asserts the exact opposite:

“I think this was the proper treatment for him,” said Dr. Manny Alvarez, senior managing health editor at “After a very long time of chronic health problems, ultimately, his heart needed to be replaced, and this was the only way to do it.”

Alvarez said Cheney’s overall strong physical health made him a good candidate for a transplant, despite his age.

“The treatments he had prior to the transplant allowed him to lead a full life,” Alvarez added.

Of course there was no uproar among these people when it was revealed that Hollywood icon Robert “I’ll move to Paris if Bush wins” Altman both received a heart transplant at the age of 70 and never actually moved to Paris. I guess it’s because he made the “informal” cut off.

It’s no real big surprise that MSNBC would push such a narrative, it’s red meat for their chronically indignant left-wing audience. It’s less surprising that they’d have their resident UPenn/NYU “bio-ethicist” disingenuously assert such garbage in the form of a rhetorical question (Are Republicans less informed about key issues? A new study by our on-staff left-wing academics offers surprising conclusions!). Of course the collection of motley fools and self-satisfied deconstructionists, collectively known as the field of bioethics, is more than a tad suspect itself. As the always excellent Andrew Ferguson noted in an article at The Weekly Standard last week:

On the list of the world’s most unnecessary occupations—aromatherapist, golf pro, journalism professor, vice president of the United States?—?that of medical ethicist ranks very high. They are happily employed by pharmaceutical companies, hospitals, and other outposts of the vast medical-industrial combine, where their job is to advise the boss to go ahead and do what he was going to do anyway (“Put it on the market!” “Pull the plug on the geezer!”). They also attend conferences where they take turns sitting on panels talking with one another and then sitting in the audience watching panels of other medical ethicists talking with one another. Their professional specialty is the “thought experiment,” which is the best kind of experiment because you don’t have to buy test tubes or leave the office. And sometimes they get jobs at universities, teaching other people to become ethicists. It is a cozy, happy world they live in.

This article was in reference to another claim uncontroversially floating around the world of bioethics: that infanticide is perfectly ethical. You see, it’s really no different than abortion since the newborn doesn’t have the cognitive capacity to realize it’s being denied anything, were you to kill it. As an added bonus, killing infants can spare the biological parents the lack of emotional closure often associated with adoption.

I previously misidentified Robert Altman as Arthur Caplan. Thanks, Ben.

Category: Dumbass Bullshit, Health Care debate, Media

Comments (26)

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  1. Hondo says:

    So, wouldn’t that same argument allow deliberate killing of those in a coma, or the severely retarded – or those in the latter stages of age-related dementia?

    Seems to me that the eugenics movement of the early 20th Century advocated something similar to “improve the population”. But it’s not exactly well thought of these days – because of abuses by certain German practitioners, if I recall correctly.

  2. faboutlaws says:

    I hope Cheney’s new heart came from a dead liberal, but for Cheney’s, not a bleeding heart liberal. It might leak.

  3. Adam_S says:

    Referring to the last paragraph, I bet these are the same people who called Vietnam Vets baby killers.

  4. Anonymous says:

    The guy survived both a heart condition and served his country for more than 40 years. He is one of the few heros.

  5. B Woodman says:

    As #1 Hondo said, the Nazis practiced this cleansing of the useless from the population.
    Makes one wish for a time machine to send these bio ethetists (whatever) back to that time period, see either how long they’d survive, or how high they’d climb in the hierarchy.
    (Oops! Did I just call them Nazis?)

  6. Ben says:

    Arthur Caplan is a Hollywood icon who had a heart transplant at 70 and threatened to move to Paris if Bush won? Huh?

  7. Anonymous says:

    Everybody has their favorite “bad patient” they would cut off from extensive, expensive, high-tech medical care: the old, the sick, the multiple-transplant patient.

    But those oh-so-logical arguments go stone cold dead silent when it’s them, or someone they love.

    It’s best to walk a mile in those shoes, before you start beating others over the head with them.

  8. PintoNag says:

    Sorry, #7 above was me.

  9. NSOM says:

    re #6

    Doh. Thanks, Ben. Jumped around the article on a crappy laptop one too many times. I’ve fixed it.

  10. NSOM: Wish I’d said that.

  11. CI says:

    If a person can afford the medical care, they should get any procedure they wish.

    Beyond that……..I have a hard time getting spun up over competing theories of cost benefits of heart transplants for people over a certain age.

  12. DUIDave says:

    @4 Cheney never served anything other than his own ambitions, the dude got more fucking war deferments than the typical republican.. He had other priorities.. I am throwing a huge party when this piece of shit kicks.

  13. DaveO says:

    The Progressives practice an anti-human policy. Agree with PN: you never see a leftist proudly accepting death. At best they suicide, otherwise, they cringe and cower and hide from death.

    Sucks to be a Progressive when you have nothing to die for.

  14. Adam_S says:

    It appears Drunkard has woken up from another blackout.

  15. Radar says:

    Be careful accumulating that bad karma, DUIDave. You may need to expiate your bad causes if you end up needing a new liver.

  16. West says:

    Cheney personally ripped the still beating heart out of Trayvon Martin’s chest.

  17. Hondo says:

    Where are those documents, DUIDave?

  18. AW1 Tim says:


    Well, as long as deferments are legal, then I have no problem with anyone who applies for one (or more) and gets approved. Your butt buddy Clinton got one. Hell, he even led anti-war protests while in England. At least Darth Cheney was doing something useful.

    My local leftist ass rag, the Portland Press Herald already has a propaganda piece up questioning whether transplants shouldn’t be restricted to the young who have longer to live and can be more useful to society.

    It’s pretty damned disgusting all around.

    Leftists and ethics are a bad combination, because the former usually warps the latter to justify whatever evil is being planned “for the public good”.

  19. Bill C. says:

    One wonders what MSNBC’s comment will be on this topic, when it is one of the Clinton’s, or Chucky Schumer, or the current VP in a decade or so.

  20. If I passed and I found that they were going to use my heart to save that rat—-, I’d come back and take it back.

  21. The Dead Man says:

    So does this mean Darth Cheney officially sticks as a nickname or can we go with Frankencheney? Inspiring fear in those that would play god! And thanks to the comments above I couldn’t get the Temple of Doom out of my head as a way to get him a new heart.

    Aren’t doctors and donors in that aspect supposed to stay neutral by the way. If I die in a wreck and my organs go to a filthy hippie that needs it? That’s why I put Yes on my card. I’m not using them anymore and it’ll save someone who will use them. That’s all that matters.

  22. NHSparky says:

    Dave–that’s not a very nice attitude, mboy. I haven’t poisoned my organs with demon rum to the point where they’re unusable, hence why I’ve also checked the box on the organ donor card.

    And what are we up to on the document dump…Day 21 or so, isn’t it?

  23. Hondo says:

    Day 20, NHSparky. It will be 3 weeks tomorrow.

  24. faboutlaws says:

    My hemorrhoids are available for transplant to anybody who wants them. DUIDave looks like a good candidate.

  25. UpNorth says:

    Hey, Drunk Dave, I was a Republican back then, before I became a Conservative. I never even asked for a deferment. So, as a few posters here have said before, GDIAF.