Do the rich or famous get organ transplants faster than "regular" people?

Katrina Bramstedt, PhD
Health Education

It is unethical to allocate organs to people according to their occupation or their wealth status. In the US, patients must show that they have the finanical capacity to afford the surgery and all associated fees and medications; but large personal net worth is not an allocation criteria.

In the US there exists a policy called "multiple listing". This means that patients can be wait-listed for organs at several hospitals at the same time. In theory, this can increase the odds of receiving a donor organ. If the hospitals are separated by large distances, the patient must be able to quickly travel to the hospital by plane when notifed that the organ is available. For this reason, generally, wealthier people have the ability to multiple list because they have the ability to travel at a moment's notice to any transplant center at which they are listed.

Also, many insurance companies will only pay for the patient's evaluation costs associated with one hospital. If a patient desires to be wait-listed at multiple hospitals, the patient might have to pay for each additional evaluation using personal funds. As above, this generally means that wealthier people have the ability to accomplish this.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.