Why Can’T Death Row Inmates Donate Organs

Organ Donation from the Death Row

When you die your senior available next of kin may be asked if they consent to donate your organs and tissues for transplantation. S/He can decide not to donate your organs and tissues, even if you wanted to be a donor. It is important that you discuss your decision to be an organ and tissue donor with your family.

Death Row Unlikely to Be Source for Organ Donations – The Texas Tribune

Death Row Unlikely to Be Source for Organ Donations.

Posted: Mon, 10 Sep 2012 07:00:00 GMT [source]

However, the quality and amount of organs that death row inmates can potentially contribute is debated, but would definitely not remove more than a small percentage of people on transplant waiting lists. Some medical experts and others warn that execution chemicals could render organs unusable if taken after lethal injection. They are also deeply disturbed by the prospect of death row inmates donating organs, even if can ease shortages so severe that patients die while on the waiting list. There are also concerns that the need for donor organs, and the ability of inmates to donate them after they’re executed, might lead to prison officials and court systems trying to hasten the execution process.

In 1996, the Alabama Supreme Court halted David Larry Nelson’s execution so he could donate a kidney to his sick brother. Medical ethicist Arthur Caplan of New York University said organ donation is incompatible with the goals of punishment. The request has raised troubling moral and medical questions among transplant experts and ethicists.

Moral and ethical considerations

Besides the very finite shelf-life of a harvested organ, you can’t just take something out of someone and slap it someone else. Too many type and crossmatching/rejection issues to overcome in a human to human transplant. Some transplant recipients think such donations could be a good thing.

After his execution by firing squad in 1977, Gilmore’s pituitary gland, liver, and corneas were successfully removed per his request, while his kidneys were too heavily damaged by rifle fire. The death penalty is a hotly contested issue in the United States, namely due to the inherently irreversible nature of the punishment in the event an inmate is proved innocent. In addition to many other countries having gotten rid of it as a legal sentencing, 23 individual U.S. states have gotten rid of it .

Both the federal government and many states have practically prohibited the practice, with some exceptions, such as for immediate family members. Even in states where organ donation to the public is or was possible, requests are overwhelmingly denied. Issues of informed consent of potential donors as well as recipients need to be addressed. Obviously a person condemned to death cannot consider organ or bone marrow donation as a coercion-free option. Even a death row inmate should have the option of refusing an invasive surgical procedure–although unlikely, given the alternative. COLUMBUS, Ohio (TheBlaze/AP) — Convicted child killer Ronald Phillips was scheduled to die yesterday through execution by lethal injection.

First, it arguably creates a bad incentive (i.e., "I guess it’s not so bad after all if we can use his organs"). Christian is not seeking a sentence reduction or special treatment.

The argument over whether or not the death penalty should exist is well-trod ground. "State inmate gets new heart; ‘Medically necessary care’ is required by law, an official says". Hippocrates Med Review is an undergraduate medical news journal that hopes to provide a world-class forum to showcase a holistic view of medicine as told by the brightest minds in the medical field. "Dr. David Orentlicher, co-director of the Hall Center for Law and Health, says that recipients might grapple with the notion of ‘walking around with the organ of a murderer,’" Hippocrates Med Review reports.

In 1995, a death row prisoner in Delaware, his brother already executed for their collaborative crime, was allowed to donate a kidney to his mother. That troubles me as well, but at least with a kidney, the donor survives the harvest. However, there are some reasons why we should think long and hard before changing the rules to allow these organ donations.