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Deathrow Inmate Denied Kidney Transplant

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
PORTLAND, Oregon (Reuters) -- Oregon has denied a kidney transplant to a death row inmate in the hopes of ending a statewide debate about how best to keep him alive until he is executed, state officials said Monday.

Horacio Reyes-Camarena, a convicted killer, set off a furious debate last month by telling reporters he qualified for the transplant.

Citizens around the state, angry about deep budget cuts that are making it difficult for Oregon to pay for education and health care, weighed in on whether a man sentenced to die should be allowed the $100,000 surgery or the chance to take a donated kidney to his execution.

Although state officials insisted Reyes-Camarena never requested a kidney transplant, Steven Shelton, medical director at Oregon Department of Corrections, said a panel of physicians was asked to consider the transplant to settle the question of whether he would be a candidate.

"We decided if he didn't need to know the answer, everyone else in the world needed to know the answer," Shelton said.

The state pays $120,000 a year to clean Reyes-Camarena's blood with a dialysis machine at Two Rivers Correctional Institution. That treatment could continue for a decade as he appeals his death sentence in the 1996 murder of an 18-year-old woman.

While a kidney transplant for Reyes-Camarena could prove cheaper for taxpayers, the question of whether he should receive the much sought-after organ fueled an emotional debate.

Shelton said prisoners' rights is an ongoing debate, but hoped resolution in this case would turn people to talking about the underlying issues in the Reyes-Camarena debate, namely, the scarcity of organs in the United States and the rising costs of health care.

Shelton and health officials said that they denied the inmate the kidney because he did not meet all the criteria established by the state, which could range from mental health to drug use to prison behavior. The specific reasons why Reyes-Camarena was denied were not disclosed.

"As it stands now, people tend to focus on 'hey, how come those inmates are getting so much?' When the real question is, 'how come I'm getting so little'? Because inmates are not getting that much," Shelton said.

How do YOU feel about inmates in general getting free healthcare, transplants, etc?

Firstly, IMO -- Deathrow inmates should not be offered ANY transplants. They are sentenced to die anyway, that is a complete and total waste of 'said' organ that could go to an upstanding citizen or young child that needs that 'said' organ to have a fighting chance at life.

Secondly, for the 'average' inmate (i.e. those that are NOT on death row). It absolutely DISGUSTS me that my taxes are paying for a murderers healthcare, food, etc. It makes my stomach curl to know that a small portion of my money is taking care of people who have committed horrendous crimes against other innocent human beings.

post #2 of 16
why in the world would anyone waste a kidney on a person on death row! I say just let him die.
post #3 of 16
I'd say Mother Nature is giving him his sentence. Let the kidney go to someone else. I'd say he passed up his chance when he committed murder.
post #4 of 16
This situation arose in AZ, a few years back. A death row inmate sued, to get a liver transplant. Thankfully, the suit was thrown out. Livers are much too scarce to waste on a useless person.
post #5 of 16
I would't want him to get it! We have a waiting list of good people who need it! Let him die!
post #6 of 16
Kill the dude already!

post #7 of 16
Wow you guys scare me! If this person is appealing there may be a chance he didn't kill anyone and the case was bungled.

Didn't you read about the 12 people that are being released from prison because the only thing that put them there was the word of a police officer? This officer never kept any records of his undercover work or even make any recordings.

I say this is in Gods hands and I for one don't want to judge anyone without all the facts. Just because someone is convicted does't mean they are guilty. Just means they couldn't afford a good lawyer.
post #8 of 16
So very true!
post #9 of 16
Give the kidney to someone who deserves it I say.
post #10 of 16
Just because someone is convicted does't mean they are guilty
That is what courts are for!
If the person gets convicted the first time and get sent to death row, then they HAVE been determined to be guilty.
If they have to be tried over and over in an attempt to get a different verdict, then we need a total over-haul of the justice system.
I am against appeals over and over and over until the murderer gets the sentence they "prefer". All the while, we, the taxpayers, pay the bills and living expenses.

post #11 of 16
Part of the evaluation for transplant candidates is the potential for sucess and length of/quality of life. A 90 year old man would not get a kidney over a young person. Why give a kidney to someone who is going to be killed eventually? If kidneys grew on trees, no problem. But giving him the kidney takes it away from someone who could get more out of it, in both quality and quantity of life. Sad but unfortunately in some areas you have to make decisions like this.
post #12 of 16
How do YOU feel about inmates in general getting free healthcare, transplants, etc?

I feel that this is something that should be covered by law.
If a majority of people believe that inmates should not be priviliged to anything but basic healthcare (if at all), than someone should draw op a Bill.
I the Bill passes, than it has become the law and everyone knows where he stands and what his rights are.

This makes the situation clear to everyone and it prevents endless discussions over what is proper/justified and what is not for each individual case.
post #13 of 16
No transplant. But keep him on dialysis until his appeals are exhausted. How does everyone feel about an alcoholic getting a new liver? Any different? I think that's a harder one.

post #14 of 16
The issue of evaluating the potential quality of life for potential transplant recipients is a valid one in this case. I would think that an inmate would not pass that test.

But some answers on this thread saddened me. These people are in prison, convicted of despicable crimes. But they are still human beings. They do not deserve to die by any means. They have been sentenced to die "by lethal injection" or something very specific like that.

I don't know what would drive a person to commit heinous acts. I do know that they are often very mentally or emotinally disturbed. And that does not mean that they are inhuman. I see these people, and just think, there but for the grace of God go I. And I mean that literally. I believe that human life is a gift from God, and it is not up to me to take that gift away from anyone else, through any act of omission or comission on my part.
post #15 of 16
Well I think they should get medical care. But I also feel strongly that if someone is convicted of something giving him/her the death penalty, and he/she has exhausted all appeals or the evidence is over whelming (combination of DNA and other undisputable things), then they should not get any kind of organ transplant. Yes, give them alternatives such as dialysis etc. But organs are so hard to come by. Do you pass up the 12 year old in organ failure? Or even another adult that has a promising future?

Things aren't so clear to me when it comes to alcoholics and transplants. While I wouldn't agree to an alcoholic getting a new organ if they were actively using or one who has not proven able to remain sober for any significant length of time. What if it is an alcoholic that has been sober for years? There are many kids that become alcoholics but get sober before they're even adults and stay that way. What if they go into liver failure when they are middle aged? Or even an adult that has proven their sobriety? This is trickier for me. What say you?
post #16 of 16
I know if I or one of my family members needed a transplant, we would not be able to get it, because we can not afford it. I do not beleive the state or any state run organization should foot the bill for someone who is on death row needs it. Now if he himself or his family has the money to pay for it then if he meets the rest of the critra for the transplant, then let him get it. Although it really does seem like a waste of a good organ IMO
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