Kahle invoice on organ transplants passes Home

LANSING – People with a disability or a positive HIV test must not be discriminated against during the organ transplant process under the laws passed by Michigan House last week.

State MP Bronna Kahle, R-Adrian, backed a bill that would prohibit anyone performing an organ transplant from refusing an organ based on their disability alone, according to a press release from Kahle’s office. In addition, the law prohibits lowering a person’s priority on the organ transplant waiting list simply because they are disabled.

Although federal law for Americans with disabilities prohibits discrimination based on disability during the organ transplant process, organizations like the National Down Syndrome Society say that certain disability designations affect where a person sits on a transplant list, if any.

“All people have the same value. Currently, our state does not prohibit a person from being refused a transplant simply because of their physical or mental disability, ”Kahle said while testifying to the committee in May. “We cannot wait for a catastrophic emergency to protect its citizens with disabilities from discrimination, especially if remedial action could come too late.”

Kahle chairs the House of Representatives Health Committee.

Several other states have taken the same approach as Kahle’s bill. However, the bill does not include a penalty for discrimination.

The other bill would allow patients with HIV to donate their organs to HIV-positive recipients.

Both bills must be passed by the state Senate and signed by the governor to become law.

At the national level, the HIV Organ Policy Equity Act 2013 lifted a decade-long ban on transplanting HIV-infected organs to recipients. Current state law does not allow Michigan residents to receive organs from people who test positive for HIV, so organs that test positive will be shipped to recipients outside of the state.

A total of 19 states and the District of Columbia lifted their federal bans on the donation of HIV-positive organs, said Legislator, MP Felicia Brabec, before the House of Representatives unanimously passed her law.

“The approval of these transplants will also increase the overall pool of organs available for all transplant recipients, regardless of their HIV status,” said Brabec. “That means this legislation here in Michigan would save the lives of HIV-positive and HIV-negative patients.”

A person who breaks the law, should it become law, would be legally liable for damages for losses.

According to the United Network for Organ Sharing, there are around 107,000 people on the organ transplant waiting list. Although HIV-positive patients can receive HIV-negative organs, this bill aims to increase the number of organs that can be transplanted by giving patients who test positive a positive organ if one becomes available.

About 2,500 people are waiting for an organ transplant in Michigan, said Dorrie Dils, CEO of Gift of Life Michigan. Although HIV-positive patients make up a small proportion of those waiting, enabling them to donate life-saving organs is a step in the right direction for the state, especially during Pride Month.

“It is very appropriate that we do this this month. We want all people to be able to be donors who want to, and this would give the HIV positive community the opportunity to do so, ”said Dils.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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