thinking about culture differences

i attended a talk yesterday about the “Ethics of Bedside Rationing” – mostly focused on the question of who gets scarce medical resources like kidney and liver transplants… a colleague (someone not born in the U.S.) asked a question about whether it would matter in the choice betwee two identically-situated transplant candidates (same prognosis before and after transplant, same age, same clinical status) if one of those candidates had 3 dependent children who relied on him, and the other had no dependents. the speaker said, categorically, “No”. which , I think, is a reflection of a great divide between thinking in America (where there tends to be an emphasis on the “individual”) and other parts of the world, where community ties carry more weight.