Debra Selkirk has filed a lawsuit arguing that current rules governing who gets a liver transplant breach the Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantee of equality. She also argues that the current rules led to the early demise of her husband, Mark.
Mark died after doctors refused to transplant a piece of her liver into his body. They demanded that the alcoholic stay dry for 6 months.
Under the Charter, alcoholism is deemed a disability and is protected from discrimination by the Canadian Human Rights Code.
The lawsuit has been launched at the Trillium Gift of Life Network (it oversees Ontario’s transplant system), the Health Ministry, and the University Health Network where Mark Selkirk was treated. Debra is representing herself, and understands that she faces and epic battle given her lack of experience in the legal realm.
Mark’s fiberglass company was responsible for making all those moose sculptures used in a 2000 art project throughout Toronto.
In 2010, he was diagnosed with alcoholic hepatitis, inflammation of the liver. He had abstained from alcohol consumption for six weeks before seeking a liver transplant. His wife Debra and other compatible family members offered to be living donors.
But the hospital was adamant that he wait the full 6 months. Mark died two weeks later.
Do you think such a strict donor rule is a fair one? If both the donor and the recipient are okay with the whole procedure, should the hospital have no choice but to perform the operation? Would you want your organs going to a chronic smoker or morbidly obese individual?