Could Death Row Inmates be a Viable Source for Donated Organs? Angela Rogers
There is a high demand for organs and a shortage of donors in the US. We need to find a way to bridge the gap. Most Americans are wary of donating organs so why not allow convicted felons to do some good with the organs that they have? Death row inmates could be a viable source of transplantable organs. To discourage exploitation of death row inmates there should be provisions made and guidelines followed, but nevertheless they should be allowed to donate. Supply and Demand
According to the OPTN (Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network) there are 115,720 people on the waiting list for organs; everything from kidney, liver, heart to lungs and many more. There are some waiting for multiple organs. From January to June of this year 2012; there were 13,963 donors 11,087of those were deceased. (OPTN) The OPTN has pre-transplant data which pertains to transplant candidate on the waiting list, donor/recipient matching, deceased and living donors, histocompatibility, and potential recipients. (OPTN) Every time a person wants to be put on the waiting list they fill out an electronic form and it then goes into the data bank. It has things like age, gender, acceptable donor characteristics, and ABO blood group. These are the things the computer looks for in the match run. (OPTN) The match run part comes when a deceased donor becomes available. The computer compares donor information with transplant candidate characteristics stored on the waiting list. (OPTN) Donors submit their information on a deceased donor registration and living donor registration form. After each deceased donor organ is allocated there is a form to partial rank in ordered listing of potential recipients. (OPTN) For each organ transplanted there is post-transplant data that has to be collected at six months, one year and annually after that Time to Transplant Organ
There are twenty-five transplantable organs in the human body. Except for one kidney and part of the liver. Most organs can only come from a deceased donor due to the fact the person cannot live without a heart or other vital organs needed to survive. Most donors are accident victims. So you never know when there will be a donor available. When a dead donor is available the transplantation process has to be done within a short period for the organ to continue to be useful for the recipient. This is one of the major reasons that death row inmates would make an excellent donor. Their time of death will be precise and planned. The recipient can be waiting in the wings to receive the organ and the success rate will be on the rise for implantations. People Saved
One healthy condemned inmate could potentially save at least eight adults by providing two kidneys, two lungs, a heart, liver, pancreas, and small intestine. (Gekker 2012) There were fifty-two felons executed in 2009 in the US, that’s potentially four hundred and sixteen people that could have been saved. (Perales 2002) This is just an estimate and some could have not been fit to be donors or had some medical condition or disease. If even half could have donated that would have been two hundred and eight lives saved. Even if some of them would have volunteered some saved lives are better than none at all. People who want to Donate
Though some argue that death row inmates are monsters and uncaring individuals this is not always the case. There are two individuals that actually tried to donate and even went to court over it. First is Jonathan Nobles, he was convicted of stabbing and killing two women in Austin in their early twenties after breaking into their home in 1986. He wanted to “do something positive after bringing so much darkness into this world” he said. The prison system says they were worried that what if he donates a kidney and the other one fails then he gets a stay of execution? Jack Kevorkian tried to...
References: Abilene Reporter-News/ E.E. Scripps. Publ. (1998) Prison officials won’t let death
row inmates donate organs
G.A.V.E. Prisoner organ donation. (2012). From Willing Inmates. Retrieved from
Gekker, Elena (2012). Letting life spring from death row. Retrieved from http:
Indiana University Center for Bioethics. (2009). Death Row Organ Donation. Reference Center.
Retrieved from http://bioethics.iu.edu/reference-center/deathrow/
Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network. (2012). 9/14/2012 statistics
Persky, A. S. (2012) Life from Death Row: Inmates want to donate organs, but state disagrees.
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