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Dick Cheney Receives Heart Transplant

Dick Cheney Receives Heart Transplant

The progressive web is abuzz with jokes about former Vice President Dick Cheney’s heart transplant surgery on Saturday. Jezebel referred to the old heart as a “blackened lump of coal” and speculated that maybe his new heart will enable him to feel empathy. A satirical article in the Borowitz Report proclaims, “Cheney Receives Heart Transplant; Bush Still On Waiting List For Brain.

Joking aside, it is a serious subject. Cheney has been suffering from numerous heart problems for years – he’s had five heart attacks since age 37, with the most recent occurring in 2010, when he had to have a Left Ventricular Assist Device installed to help keep his damaged heart beating. He’s had a pacemaker since 2001 to help combat irregular heart rhythms.

Like 3,100 other Americans, Cheney did have a lengthy wait for a donor – he’s been hanging on for almost two years in the hopes of getting a new heart. The transplant isn’t without controversy: at age 71, he’s over the age generally recommended for such a risky surgery.

The cutoff given by many doctors and the Mayo Clinic is 55. While it’s never easy to deny a live-saving transplant to someone who needs it, there is a shortage of healthy donor organs available, and younger patients are more likely to survive the surgery and benefit from the new organs long-term.

Studies have show that heart transplant recipients over age 65 have more severe functional limitations after the surgery. They have difficulty returning to their normal lives. After age 65, it becomes less likely that the recipient will survive the next five years.

On the other hand, the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute dismisses the idea that there should be an age cutoff for heart transplants, even while acknowledging the increased likelihood of complications. Fox News is, predictably, challenging all criticism that Cheney’s age or condition might make him a poor candidate for the procedure.

Personally, I find it difficult to judge whether or not someone “should” receive a desperately-needed transplant. Did Cheney’s wealth and influence allow him an opportunity other 70-year-olds with heart failure might not have? Undoubtedly. But is it appropriate to say that someone with an obvious need for a transplant should not have received one, just because I dislike him on a personal and political level?

I don’t think it is. And I think it’s important to remember that, even though Cheney’s foreign policy positions helped get us into a war and have been used to justify torture, he’s also a vocal advocate for marriage equality. I don’t think jokes about the transplant suggesting he’s the embodiment of evil are accurate.

But I’m interested in your opinions, too: what does the Care2 community make of the news that Dick Cheney has had a “change of heart?”


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Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

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11:26AM PDT on Apr 15, 2012

So I guess that sociopaths deserve heart transplants too.

8:13AM PDT on Mar 29, 2012

After the procedure was completed the doctors discovered the reason for his ailment:
His old heart was three sizes too small.

1:08AM PDT on Mar 29, 2012

So, Cheney finally realized something the rest of us have known for a very long time: he had no heart.

12:06AM PDT on Mar 29, 2012

You folks may be heartless but you have 2 asses to make up for it.

8:35PM PDT on Mar 28, 2012

'Well, well. Do you reckon he'll mastermind another attack in New York? Damnable rotter.

8:30PM PDT on Mar 28, 2012

Yeah, while people more worthy have to wait that much longer, Cheney no doubt got ahead of them in line. Oh, it's just as well that I wasn't one of the surgeons.

9:05AM PDT on Mar 28, 2012

He was too old for this procedure. Who on earth thought he deserved to live....oh that's right, he has lots of money so he can have whatever he wants. It is not often that I wish someone would die, but he would be a good candidate.

6:54AM PDT on Mar 28, 2012

He sure was evil for riding the ragged line between life and death.

8:48PM PDT on Mar 27, 2012

What at total waste of a good heart, just because he has a new heart does not mean he really has a heart, he stole valuable air from people now he stole a chance for someone that deserved the heart. Karma it will happen. This jerk did not deserve a second chance

7:44PM PDT on Mar 27, 2012

when I first heard, I thought "Now we know he has one."
Then I reviewed the medical literature and "yes, people get them over 70", but its less likely....I suspect its because he was listed before age 70.....

MY QUESTIONS --- WILL HE BE WILLING TO COME OUT AND TALK ABOUT HOW THIS COULD HAVE POSSIBLY BEEN PREVENTED --- healthy living, preventive medicine, eating well, etc........

WILL THIS BE AVAILABLE FOR ANYONE NEEDING IT???? I know someone with similar situation not able to get on a transplant list because....drum roll please, didn't have insurance that would cover the procedure.......hmm..........

maybe Mr. Cheney should become an advocate for all citizens having equal insurance, not just the wealthy and/or politicians....

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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