Death Row Inmate Requests to Donate Organs before Execution - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Death Row Inmate Requests to Donate Organs before Execution

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - An eleventh-hour request by an Ohio death row inmate to donate his organs is raising troubling moral and medical questions among transplant experts and ethicists.         

Less than a day before child killer Ronald Phillips was set to die by lethal injection, Republican Gov. John Kasich on Wednesday postponed the execution so that medical experts can look into Phillips' suitability as an organ donor.           

Phillips, 40, wants to give his mother a kidney before he is put to death and donate his heart to his sister afterward.          

The governor said he is open to the possibility of Phillips donating a kidney or other non-vital organs before he is executed. But Kasich appeared to rule out a post-execution donation.         

Some medical experts and others warn that execution chemicals could render organs unusable. They are also deeply disturbed by the prospect of death row inmates donating organs, even if that can ease shortages so severe that patients die while on the waiting list.          

They question whether the condemned can freely give consent, or are desperately hoping to win clemency. They worry that such practices would make judges and juries more likely to hand out death sentences. And they are troubled by the notion of using inmates for spare parts.

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