The transplant committee is a standing committee of Princeton-Plainsboro Teaching Hospital that deals with requests by treating physicians for priority assignment for donor organs from the pool of organs from deceased organs.
Any physician may place a patient on the donor list, but as the demand for organs exceeds the supply (particularly for organs where a dead donor is the only option, such as a heart), the transplant committee coordinates with the donor agency to determine if a patient should be moved up the waiting list ahead of people who are already on it. They generally consider the following four factors:
- The need of the patient. A patient who will die soon without a transplant will generally be moved to the top of the list. Patients who can remain on treatment are given a lower priority (such as kidney patients who can still tolerate dialysis)
- The age of the patient. Generally speaking, younger patients are given priority over older patients. This was the basis for excluding Henry Errington from the transplant list.
- The health of the patient. If the patient is seriously ill and a transplant is unlikely to help, they are unlikely to get a transplant. This was the basis for excluding Natalie Soellner and Amber Volakis. It is also true that a patient will not be eligible for a transplant if they have not been diagnosed, like Hannah.
- Any self abusive behavior that would make the patient a bad risk. In Control, House knew if he disclosed that Carly Forlano was bulimic and had abused Ipecac, she would be refused a transplant.
The transplant committee does not get involved with live donors or where the donor makes a specific bequest, such as in Son of Coma Guy.