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Medical News & Perspectives
April 15, 1983

Media-Abetted liver transplants raise questions of 'equity and decency'

JAMA. 1983;249(15):1973-1974. doi:10.1001/jama.1983.03330390003001

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Jamie Fiske's name may be fading from public memory. But questions raised by her need for a liver, a need probably shared by several thousand Americans, remain to be resolved: Who should receive such lifesaving but expensive procedures? Who will pay the bills? And what are the long-term results of the extensive media "campaigns" that have raised thousands of dollars to finance procedures for some—but not other—needy patients?

The American Liver Foundation, Cedar Grove, NJ, estimates that 1 million hospital admissions and 50,000 deaths this year will be attributable to liver disease, although only a "small percentage" of these— 5,000 by some estimates—could be helped by a liver transplant. Just four centers in this country—the University of Minnesota Medical School, Minneapolis; the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine; the University of Tennessee College of Medicine, Memphis; and the University of California, Davis, School of Medicine—presently are performing liver transplants, although

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