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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2015 - 2016 Regular Session


Posted: June 15, 2015 03:25 PM
From: Senator John P. Sabatina, Jr.
To: All Senate members
Subject: Prohibit Discrimination Against Disabled People In Need of Organ Transplants or "Paul's Law"
In the near future, I will introduce a companion bill to my House Bill 585. This legislation is unofficially known as “Paul’s Law,” on behalf of Paul Corby. This legislation would amend 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 296,434 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, , “Paul’s Law.”

No longer a member of the House, I wish to continue these efforts in the Senate. Please join me in co-sponsoring this important, life-saving legislation.

Introduced as SB902