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 FoxNews.com. “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.