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House of Representatives
Session of 2013 - 2014 Regular Session


Posted: November 25, 2013 04:03 PM
From: Representative John P. Sabatina, Jr.
To: All House members
Subject: Prohibit Discrimination Against Disabled People In Need of Organ Transplants (a.k.a. Paul’s Law - HB1474)

In the near future, I will introduce legislation to be known unofficially as “Paul’s Law,” on behalf of Paul Corby. My bill, HB1474, amends Chapter 86 (Anatomical Gifts) of Title 20 of the Consolidated Statutes (Decedents, Estates and Fiduciaries) to prohibit the discrimination of any potential organ transplant recipient on the basis of a physical or mental disability. My legislation is modeled on similar laws in California and New Jersey.

While there is a set of national standards for transplant candidacy, some institutions consider criteria such as mental, developmental, and physical disabilities. Unfortunately, individuals with disabilities have not always received equal treatment when in need of a life giving organ transplant. My legislation is meant to eliminate highly subjective factors from influencing clinical decision-making.

One such instance of transplant discrimination is that of Paul Corby, a young man who was denied a life preserving heart transplant during the summer of 2011. The Transplant Panel stated that Paul could not be recommended for a transplant due to his “psychiatric issues, autism, and the unknown and unpredictable effect of steroids on behavior.” The subjective opinion was not supported by others in the medical community or shone to be relevant following the enactment of similar legislation in California and this year in New Jersey.

As a result of the panel’s determination and the story of another child with developmental disabilities, Karen Corby, Paul’s mother, started a petition on the website Change.org. The petition has already gained 289,164 signatures and growing; however, Paul is still waiting for a transplant.

Given that Paul and possibly many others have been denied a life preserving organ transplant by hospitals in Pennsylvania, I fervently believe that the Pennsylvania Legislature should take a stand against discriminatory practices involving organ transplants. In honor of Paul Corby and his fight for the gift of life, I am calling my bill, HB1474, “Paul’s Law.”

Please join me in co-sponsoring this important, life-saving legislation.

Introduced as HB1474