Essay about Organ Transplants for Prisoners

1411 Words Dec 22nd, 2012 6 Pages
In the article “Wanted, Dead or Alive? Kidney Transplants in Inmates Awaiting Execution”, Jacob M. Appel argues that, despite the criminal justice system’s view that death-row inmates deserve to die, they should be given the same opportunity to extend their life as anyone else. “The United States Supreme Court has held since 1976 that prison inmates are entitled to the same medical treatment as the free public” (645).
“When it comes to healthcare, ‘bad people’ are as equal as the rest of us” (646). When someone is sentenced to execution it is decided by the criminal justice system, not the medical community. The justice system views these peoples’ social worth as so low that they deserve to die for the crimes they have committed. “The
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The OPTN says that just because someone is in prison doesn’t mean they should not be considered for an organ transplant, the “screening for all potential recipients should be done at the candidacy stage and once listed, all candidates should be eligible for equitable allocation of organs” (648). On the basis of social worth, physicians shouldn’t discriminate by using social value as criteria for medical decisions. Sade says that psychosocial factors may be used as selection criteria, however, because they might shed light on whether or not adequate social support systems exist for the transplant recipient. “The prison sentence is payment for the crime; the prisoner owes nothing more to society, certainly not his or her life” (647). The transplant center brings up the issue of money. When a non-prisoner has a transplant operation, they fund the surgery with the help of insurance and public health programs like Medicare and Medicaid. Prisoners have neither private nor public insurance aside from what the prison system has in their budget, so this begs the question, “should the prison pay for a heart transplant for a convicted criminal?” The answer is no. Most prison systems can only afford to provide general health care, but not the large amount of funds needed for a heart transplant. Sade says the bill for aftercare of a prisoner’s heart transplant done in California in…