Organ Transplants for Prisoners Essay

1430 Words Oct 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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Without sufficient funds (and it is safe to say there are not) the prison system and officials have reason enough to deny prisoners heart transplants. These two articles both address the question of whether a prisoner should be considered eligible for organ transplant, but their arguments vary for many reasons, primarily the organ in question, the status of the prisoner in question, and whether a prisoner is eligible for transplant consideration at all.
Appel’s article is about kidney transplants and prisoners on death row. Appel says inmates have the same right to kidney transplant eligibility as any other citizen, no matter their social rank. He says that just because someone has been sentenced to die doesn’t mean their quality of life should be lowered before they are executed. It appears that Appel did in-depth research for his argument. He cites outside sources and has data to back up his argument that it is more cost-effective to perform transplant surgery instead of using dialysis treatment. Appel uses a few different ethical theories in support of his argument. He is utilitarian in his concern for cost-effectiveness, deontological in his aim at addressing the importance of good intentions and not consequences, and he also shows a preference for natural law in that he intends to preserve life. He embraces the moral principle of non-maleficence, “above all, do no harm”.

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