Baby Denied Heart Transplant Because He's Developmentally Disabled
Nothing is more distressing to a parent than watching their child when they are sick. You have to put your trust in doctors and whatever they might prescribe, and even then it is hard not to feel a little bit helpless. Imagine how these parents in New York felt when their 6-month old was so sick he needed a heart transplant -- and their doctor flatly refused to help them. That's exactly what Autumn Chenkus and Charlie Higgs had to face when their baby boy Maverick became seriously ill.
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Baby Maverick's mother Autumn knew that getting a heart wasn't an easy feat. Especially not at New York Presbyterian, the hospital where her son was being treated. Still, having gone through two operations and continuing to be in heart failure, she thought her son was a viable candidate.
The hospital didn't think so. They viewed Maverick's genetic disorder, Coffin-Siris Syndrome (which can cause intellectual delays in development) as making him a less-than-ideal candidate. They thought that, regardless of how the heart transplant worked, his disorder made him a not-so desirable candidate. This isn't the first instance of doctors ruling out candidates with developmental disorders. It's a shocking practice to the parents of children with Down Syndrome, Autism, or other disorders which make them less "desirable" for receiving the organs they might need to live.
Luckily Maverick switched hospitals and wound up healing without the need for a transplant. But that didn't stop his parents from standing up and filing a discrimination charge against the hospital. Good for them -- hopefully shining some light on this issue will save others in the future.
Do you agree with the hospital's practices or do you think they need to re-examine their practices?