Clip of the Day: Is Dick Cheney Too Old for a New Heart?

Bioethicists debate fairness of granting 71-year-old a young heart.
Mar 26, 2012· 0 MIN READ
Originally from Baltimore, Oliver lives and writes on a quiet, tree-lined street in Brooklyn.

After 22 months on the waiting list, former Vice President Dick Cheney successfully received a heart transplant at Inova Fairfax Hospital in Falls Church, Virginia, on Saturday. The 71-year-old has suffered five heart attacks over the past 25 years.

The news reopens a debate over whether there should be an age limit for organ recipients. With 3,100 Americans waiting for a new heart (and about 330 dying before one becomes available), some bioethicists say that transplants should go to younger patients who have a greater chance of making use of the organ.

Still, according to doctors, Cheney didn’t receive any special treatment. Said Dr. Allen Taylor, cardiology chief at Georgetown University Hospital, to the New York Daily News: “You can’t leapfrog the system. It’s a very regimented and fair process and heavily policed.”

How old is too old when it comes to organ donations? Let us know in the comments below.