More Mexicans are offering to donate organs for transplant but donation culture has taken a long time to take hold, even though thousands of people are on waiting lists for a replacement organ.
So one transplant specialist has spoken out after a retired musician declared this week that he had refused a liver transplant over worries that the donor might be homosexual or a drug addict.
Singer Vicente Fernández recounted that he had to suspend a 2012 tour after physicians detected a tumor in his liver.
He said he initially refused the doctors’ proposal for a transplant even though a donor had already been found. The motive for his rejection? He “didn’t want to go to bed with his wife with another dude’s liver. I don’t even know if he was gay or a drug addict.”
The procedure was eventually performed but a specialist at the Mexico City ABC Hospital chastised Fernández this week.
Mario Antonio Cardona told the newspaper El Universal that the only valid conditions for rejecting a donor’s organs or tissue are “an acute contagious infection or a transmissible chronic infection like HIV, hepatitis B or C, syphilis and tuberculosis.”
He deemed Fernández’s remarks as an “aberration” that showed complete ignorance of the human body and biology.
He also cited cases in which organ donors had abused some substances but the organs themselves were organically healthy, adding that “the temporary effect of drugs does not necessarily lead to chronic illness, much less make the recipient a drug addict.”
“It is completely absurd and inhumane to think about homosexuality as an infection,” continued Cardona.
“Whatever a person’s social conduct, they can still be a perfect donor.”
The physician also said that statements like Fernández’s are “a negative blow to those that want to donate. It is reprehensible that such a visible figure can set back 15 years of work [promoting organ donation].”
“Donation culture in Mexico has progressed, but it has had very slow growth. Unfortunately these types of statements, made by irresponsible people, have a negative social impact on the issue.”
Official donation figures for Mexico show about four people out of every million donated their organs after death.
In its most recent quarterly report, the National Transplant Center said 15,356 patients are waiting for a kidney transplant, 6,187 for a corneal transplant and 327 for a liver.
Source: El Universal (sp)