Death of inmate who received heart transplant renews debate over organ allocation policies.Almost a year after he caused a major furor by receiving a heart transplant heart transplant
Procedure to remove a diseased heart and replace it with a healthy one from a legally dead donor. The first was performed in 1967 by Christiaan Barnard. , a California inmate died when his body rejected the organ. The 32-year-old prisoner, whose name was never released, died on December 18 at Stanford University Medical Center Stanford University Medical Center (Stanford Hospital & Clinics) is one of four hospitals affiliated with Stanford University and Stanford University School of Medicine, along with the Lucile Packard Children's Hospital, the Veteran's Administration Hospital in Palo Alto, and Santa where he had been on life support since November 30.
The prisoner, who received his life saving heart transplant on January 3, 2002, was a two-time felon An individual who commits a crime of a serious nature, such as Burglary or murder. A person who commits a felony.
felon n. a person who has been convicted of a felony, which is a crime punishable by death or a term in state or federal prison. who entered the California prison system in 1997. He is believed to be the first state prison inmate in the US to receive a heart transplant.
Russ Heimerich, a spokesperson for the Department of Corrections told the press that reports from inside the prison indicated the prisoner "was not a model patient," and did not strictly adhere to adhere to
verb 1. follow, keep, maintain, respect, observe, be true, fulfil, obey, heed, keep to, abide by, be loyal, mind, be constant, be faithful
2. his immunosuppressive Immunosuppressive
Any agent that suppresses the immune response of an individual.
Mentioned in: Antirheumatic Drugs, Graft-vs.-Host Disease, Immunosuppressant Drugs
1. pertaining to or inducing immunosuppression.
State officials estimated the cost of keeping the prisoner alive was at least $1.25 million, including the $12,500 a day it cost to keep him at the Stanford University Medical Center after his heart began rejecting.
The inmate's death reignited the debate over whether there are limits to the types of care that should be given to ailing prisoners.
Following the transplant last January, Heimerich defended the transplant by explaining the department had lost several lawsuits over inmate care. "We don't have a policy per se," he said. "We have a requirement, based in law and in losing many, many lawsuits, to provide necessary care to inmates." (Transplant News, January 31, 2002)
Heimerich cited a 1976 US Supreme Court ruling declaring it "cruel and unusual punishment Such punishment as would amount to torture or barbarity, any cruel and degrading punishment not known to the Common Law, or any fine, penalty, confinement, or treatment that is so disproportionate to the offense as to shock the moral sense of the community. " to withhold necessary medical care from inmates and a 1995 federal court decision ordering prison officials to give a kidney transplant to an inmate whose request initially had been denied.
The United Network for Organ Sharing United Network for Organ Sharing See UNOS. (UNOS UNOS United Network for Organ Sharing Transplant surgery A database dedicated to optimizing the use of transplantable organs; according to UNOS statistics–1995, ± 20,000 major organs and tissues are transplanted/yr; since successful survival of ) policy says that excluding an inmate from receiving a life saving transplant is not "ethically legitimate."
"The National Organ Transplant Act specifies that the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network establish 'medical criteria' for organ allocation," said Anne Paschke, a UNOS spokesperson. "It's been UNOS' position that 'social criteria' per se be excluded from medical criteria and therefore are not permitted in consideration of organ allocation."
For more information visit the OPTN/UNOS Web sites: www.unos.org or www.optn.org or contact the UNOS news bureau - (804) 782-4730.