Death Row Donation


DATE:   May 19, 2011

TO:   Richard Pietila, Instructor

FROM:   Christen Potochick, Student

SUBJECT:   Reasons why death row inmates should be allowed to donate their organs


In recent years, the number of Americans waiting for potentially lifesaving organ transplants on the organ transplant list has increased dramatically.   “Nationwide, the number stands at 110,000.   People die waiting every single day because the number in need greatly outpaces the organs available.” (Gift of life Michigan, 2010)   Patiently these people wait for a phone call to tell them that a suitable organ match has been found, for some that call comes too late or never at all.   The source of these organs has recently been the topic of much debate as medical research has been looking for new potential organ donors.   As I searched the Walsh College data base for a possible solution to this dilemma, I thought that one good source might be the more than 3,000 prisoners on death row in the United States (Longo, 2011). Hundreds of potential recipients die needlessly every year while valuable organs are wasted, because we continue to reject physically healthy inmates as organ donation candidates.   Why not organ donation by prisoners condemned to death?


Due to cultural, religious, and moral beliefs, organ donors are a scarce resource in the United States.   There is currently no law that excludes prisoners from donating organs, but there aren’t any prisons that will allow the donation of organs from death row inmates for various reasons.   If a death row inmate expresses the want, and provides consent to have their organs and/or tissue donated, who are we to deny that request?   These men/women will be put to death for the crimes they’ve committed.   When you consider the amount of taxpayer dollars spent on feeding, housing, and basic medical care invested in each death row inmate for the remainder of their days, doesn’t it make sense to get some...