Death Row Inmate Can’t Donate Organs — Too Expensive
Michael Demmons points us to the interesting case of Gregory Scott Johnson, an Indiana death row inmate who wants to donate his liver to his dying sister but is being denied on the grounds that it would require him to undergo expensive tests that at taxpayer expense.
There’s another complication:
Many organs used in transplants come from the bodies of those recently deceased, but in Johnson’s case, the chemicals used in his lethal injection would make the liver and kidneys unusable. He has asked prison officials if he could be electrocuted instead, in which case it might be possible to reuse the organs.
That request is not likely to be granted because the equipment needed for an electrocution is no longer in place at the prison. State law has changed and now requires executions to be carried out by injection rather than in the electric chair.
The alternative is a “split liver” operation but there are expenses associated with that as well.
Michael sees some eerie parallels with the Terri Schiavo case, where a lot of taxpayer money was spent trying to keep someone alive who purportedly wanted to die.
It’s an interesting conundrum and my inclination would be to do what was necessary to keep Johnson’s 38-year-old sister alive here. Still, the Department of Corrections raises a good point here.
If Deborah Otis’ brother were not an inmate of the state, would we pay any of the costs for her to get a liver transplant?