Doctors and medical providers will not be able to deny someone an organ transplant do to mental or physical disabilities, due to legislation filed by State Senator Jason Barickman (R-Bloomington) that was recently signed into law by the governor.
“People with physical and mental disabilities already face numerous challenges every day, and in some places, that extends to their ability to receive life-saving organ transplants,” said Barickman. “No one should ever be denied an organ transplant due to a mental or physical disability.”
Under Barickman’s legislation, Senate Bill 500, doctors, hospitals, and organ procurement organizations will be prohibited from declaring a patient ineligible for an organ transplant due to physical or mental disabilities. The legislation was signed into law by Governor JB Pritzker on July 23rd.
The idea for the legislation was brought to Senator Barickman by a constituent, Kaylee Short, whose daughter was diagnosed with Down syndrome.
“When Wesley was diagnosed with Down syndrome at birth I was completely overwhelmed with emotions. It was immediately obvious to me that certain rights and accomplishments that come more freely to most of us would not come as fairly and easily to him. I’ve lived in Illinois my entire life, born and raised. Realizing that discrimination could happen in our state to individuals with disabilities just like my son, who are in need of organ transplants to survive, broke my heart. These kids and adults are worthy of every opportunity we are, and most importantly worthy of life. They work twice as hard at everything they do. The idea that they should have to also work harder at fair opportunity to organ transplants is disheartening,” said Short. “I am so grateful that is one less worry that so many special needs parents in Illinois will have to face. Everyone knows Wesley will likely always need us, what I hope people realize is we will always need him more.”