Faculty Spotlight

Utility vs. Justice: Prof. Tenenbaum Examines Latest in Live Kidney Donations for American Journal of Law and Medicine

Professor Evelyn Tenenbaum

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For the second time since 2016, Albany Law School Professor Evelyn Tenenbaum is tackling the subject of live kidney donors for the American Journal of Law and Medicine (AJLM), one of the nation's top health law journals.

Professor Tenenbaum's latest paper, "Swaps and Chains and Vouchers, Oh My!: Evaluating How Saving More Lives Impacts the Equitable Allocation of Live Donor Kidneys," is forthcoming in AJLM's Vol. 44, to be published in 2018.

"This article traces the progression of innovations created to make optimum use of a patient's own live kidney donors," Professor Tenenbaum said. "It starts with the simplest—direct donation by family members—and ends with voucher donations, a very recent and unique innovation because the donor can donate 20 or more years before the intended recipient is expected to need a kidney. In return for the donation, the intended recipient receives a voucher that can be redeemed for a live kidney when it is needed."

"For each innovation, there is a discussion of whether the method is equitable," she added. "The article shows how the equity issues build on each other and how, with each new innovation, it becomes progressively harder to find an acceptable balance between utility and justice. For example, the two most recent allocation methods have the potential to save many additional lives, but also affirmatively harm some patients on the deceased-donor waiting list by increasing their waiting time for a life-saving kidney."

Last year, Professor Tenenbaum published "Bartering for a Compatible Kidney Using Your Incompatible, Live Kidney Donor: Legal and Ethical Issues Related to Kidney Chains" in AJLM Vol. 42. That paper was included in a 2016 compilation by the Rutgers Computer and Technology Law Journal "of the most important and timely articles on computers, technology and the law."

Recently, her 2012 Oklahoma Law Review article "Revitalizing Informed Consent and Protecting Patient Autonomy: An Appeal to Abandon Objective Causation" was quoted in the concurring opinion in People v. Lee, 2017 IL App (1st) 151652 (2017), an Illinois Appellate Court decision. Earlier this semester, she presented "Assessing Whether the Distribution of Live Donor Kidneys is Equitable" at a New York State Department of Health CLE program held at the University at Albany School of Public Health.

Professor Tenenbaum's courses at Albany Law include: Applied Health Policy; Bioethics Seminar; Fraud and Abuse in the Health Care Industry; Health Law; Public Health Policy: Law, Finance, and Ethics; and Torts. She is also faculty advisor to the Domenick L. Gabrielli National Family Moot Court Competition.

In addition, she is a Professor of Bioethics at Albany Medical College and was recently reappointed for a second three-year term as a member of the Ethics Review Committee at Albany Medical Center.

Evelyn Tenenbaum