When I heard that former Vice-President Dick Cheney had undergone a heart transplant, I knew there would be outrage because of his age and because of his politics. While the mainstream media is framing this in the context of Cheney’s age, it appears most of the comments from ordinary people are focused on hate for the former VP.
I am troubled by both arguments. Devaluing a life based on age is a slippery slope … it is a form of ageism, which is the only form of bigotry that people hold against something most of them will be one day: old.
Personally, I think many of the people saying Cheney is too old for a transplant, are hiding behind their hate for him as a politician, which brings me to my second concern. Medical decisions cannot be made based on political points of view. There is a culture of hate growing in this country that will destroy us. I worry about what our nation will be like when my daughter is older and on her own.
I don’t agree with everything that Dick Cheney has done in his life, but he is a human being; he has family and friends that love him. I wish him well for a successful recovery process. Hollywood Director Robert Altman (original MASH movie) had a heart transplant at the age of 70, but kept it a secret for 11 years, until just months before he died of cancer. Was this a wasted transplant?
For a thorough look at the realities of heart transplants in the United States, the Daily Beast has an excellent article: 7 Essential Facts About Heart Transplants.