Equal Access to Organ Transplantation for People with Disabilities

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People with disabilities are often denied equal access to organ transplantation despite long-standing federal nondiscrimination mandates. Under the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act, people cannot be excluded from consideration for organ transplantation because of disability itself, or because of stereotypes or assumptions about the value or quality of life with a disability. Instead, decisions concerning whether an individual is a candidate for organ transplantation should be based on an individualized assessment of the patient and on objective medical evidence. Recent legal developments underscore these basic guarantees and signal a new focus on the policies, practices, and attitudes that continue to compromise equal access to life-saving organ transplants for people with disabilities.