Shortly after the news broke that former Vice President Dick Cheney had a heart transplant (or, as the wags said, “heart implant” – because he never had one in the first place) the whispered questions began.
“He’s too old for a heart transplant…isn’t he?” “Wonder what strings he pulled to get a heart transplant at his age?” “How many people in line for a transplant did he jump ahead of, to get his new heart?” “The question isn’t that Dick Cheney got a heart transplant; the question is, who didn’t, because of it.”
Then, the whispered questions on social media became fodder for the 24-hour news cycle, and each TV network had to summon its “chief medical correspondent” to appear on the network’s nightly news broadcast Sunday, and explain to us why Dick Cheney was even considered for a heart transplant. Reporters for the big print media outlets asked doctors questions about who gets a replacement heart these days, and implicit in their stories is the question “why Cheney?”.
As far as I’m concerned, Cheney has the blackest heart of any person who’s ever held a national elected office. He was behind the stupid wars we’re in, in Iraq and Afghanistan; his “1% Doctrine” legacy is a huge load of horse-puckey; and what he did to Valerie Plame (Richard Armitage leaked the info to Bob Novak, but Cheney was behind it) gets Cheney a spot in the darkest and hottest level of hell, in my book.
That said, even though he’s 71, most reliable sources say Cheney didn’t jump anybody on the list; that even though there are 31-hundred Americans on the waiting list for a heart right now (and a little over 10% of them will die before they get one) it’s nearly impossible to “game” the UNOS system; and that the condition of your other vital organs and where you live has more to do with whether you’ll get a heart or not. Most of these sources also say Cheney was at the top of the age range for those who’ll get a replacement heart.
It used to be that if you were 55, you were too old to get a heart. Now, that’s changed. Cheney met all the new criteria, and got his new heart at the same hospital that put the “boost-pump” into him a couple years ago.
The ironic part of the Cheney heart saga, to me, is that the very people who railed the loudest against Sarah Palin’s “Death Panels” meme are the people who would now act as a death panel and deny Cheney a replacement heart. To those folks, I say “be careful what you wish for”.