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Ethics of Hoag Hospital Heart Transplant

May 08, 1988

Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian's first heart transplant was clearly tainted. The desire to jump aboard the gravy train generated by UCI Medical Center's recent successful operation overruled both ethics and common sense.

Surely, using the most modern equipment, the young man's heart could have been sustained another 24-48 hours pending proper identification, thus allowing his family's informed consent or denial.

Racial overtones exist also, as this was not a "John Doe" but a "Juan Doe." Obvious Latino features and the absence of identification must have aroused suspicion about the man's residency status, leaving one to wonder whether a young Caucasian female found under similar circumstances would have been "harvested" with equal haste.

One thing is certain, those responsible for this distasteful episode will never meet the same fate that befell Eleno Ullua Ramirez, as they have shown themselves to be heartless.

DARYL FLOOD

Orange

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