Social Support Is Not the Only Problematic Criterion, But If Used at All, “Lack of Social Support” Should Count in Favor of Listing, Not Against

American Journal of Bioethics 19 (11):35-37 (2019)
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Berry, Daniels, and Ladin make a strong argument for discontinuing the use of, “lack of social support,” as an organ transplantation listing criterion. This argument, however, actually leads to conclusions much stronger than those that the authors’ propose: The argument works equally well against using, (1) any “psychosocial” factors at all as a listing criterion, and, (2) any criteria other than factors that directly relate to empirically established medical need, and/or empirically established survival rate. Moreover, while the authors rightly point to a lack of empirical evidence connecting social support to survivability, they neglect mentioning that the empirical literature on social support provides grounds to favor listing persons who seem to, sadly, lack a social support system.
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