Blog Entry

Why should we care Richardson got a transplant?

Posted on: February 2, 2009 5:11 pm

(Note:  I originally posted this as a response to all121star's response "Why........." to a news item about Carolina Panthers' owner Jerry Richardson receiving a heart transplant on Sunday, February 1.)

I hate to sound insensitive as well, but if YOUR 72-year old father (or mother, brother, sister, friend or spouse, for that matter) needed a heart transplant, would you want YOUR loved one to have a transplant????  Or are you implying that Mr. Richardson used his wealth and influence to get a heart that should have gone to someone else?

Obviously Mr. Richardson would have to be a good candidate and otherwise in reasonably good health to even undergo the surgery, much less get a donor heart.  There are also ethical and legal barriers in every state designed to prevent the wealthy and privileged from gaining undue preference in the transplant process.  The only way that Mr. Richardson should or could have gotten a heart that he did not deserve or need would have been to violate numerous federal and state laws and regulations.  If he did somehow gain unfair or undue advantage or jumped in line ahead of anyone else, then he, the doctors, the transplant registry and the hospital are all in jeopardy of both legal and civil action.

Finally, I believe that neither you nor I have any business standing in judgement of whether Mr. Richardson (or anybody else) deserves this hearth transplant.  It is the height of arrogance to do so, and frankly sounds like you and others are jealous that you don't have his means, which, by the way, he worked very hard to earn.  Instead of sounding petty and mean, you should pray that he and every other person on any transplant list for any organ or other tissue (corneas, skin, etc.) gets the transplant he or she needs.

I challenge you, and everyone reading this, to do as I and many thousands have already done and make the decision to donate any and all needed organs and tissues in the event of your death to anyone who may need them.  Many thousands die each year that have been on transplant lists, and many more thousands lose the opportunity to gain or regain their sight from cornea transplants because others did not decide in advance to donate and then let family and friends know of their decision.

Many states have transplant registries, and many also allow you to designate your wishes on your driver's license or state ID card.  Even if you have designated that you wish to be an organ donor, please do three things: (1) Let your family and friends know of your decision; (2) Consider adding this designation to your will, living will, medical power of attorney and other related documents; and (3) Inform your local and national organ donation organizations of your decisions and carry a wallet card.  One excellent resource for a free card (which you should sign and have witnessed) is the US Department of Health and Human Services.  The web address is


The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or