Does the purpose justify the device?
About organ donation from those sentenced to death
In recent weeks, the Judiciary’s regulations on the use of members sentenced to death have been widely reported in the press and cyberspace. Many scientific societies and physicians issued statements condemning the practice. Success in organ transplants in recent decades has led to a chronic problem known as organ shortages worldwide. Unfortunately, the number of people in need of transplants is increasing every day, and ways to increase transplant recipients have not yet been able to find a practical solution to this problem. One of these ways, which has been associated with many proponents and opponents in the last two decades, is the use of members of prisoners sentenced to death.
In 2011, one prisoner on death row in the United States applied to donate all of his organs. Prison officials denied his request. This caused a great deal of controversy in the community. In the same year, a US court released a prisoner sentenced to life in prison for donating one of his kidneys to his sister. The court stated that the reason for the sentence was that the prisoner had donated money to the community by donating a kidney. Some courts even offer a reduction in the sentences of convicts if they donate a limb or bone marrow. But is the use of organs of those sentenced to death able to solve the problem of shortage of transplanted organs? According to Wikipedia, 55 countries around the world enforce the death penalty. The number of people sentenced to death in these countries is less than one hundred. China, meanwhile, lags far behind other countries with more than 5,000 executions a year. Until 2007, the country used members of the death row for transplantation without their consent, and even sold them to foreigners. This is done entirely in a non-transparent manner in Chinese military hospitals. Foreigners came to these hospitals for a fee to have an organ transplant. Prices ranged from $ 30,000 for the kidneys to $ 200,000 for the heart. Gradually, under global pressure, China was forced to stop doing so in 2007. Therefore, it seems that due to the small number of prisoners sentenced to death in many countries, the use of their members will not solve the problem of organ shortage. But the more important issue is the ethical issues of this dilemma. The main reasons for the opposition to the use of members of those sentenced to death are: 1. The use of members of these people is immoral because it violates human dignity. 2 – This leads to a decrease in public acceptance of organ donation and distrust of community members in the organ donation process. 3. The use of members of these individuals leads to pressure on various individuals in relation to the individual’s case to issue a death sentence. Of course, the use of members of people sentenced to death is accompanied by agreements. They say using members of the death penalty can save lives if it is done with their consent. They say even one member can help save a family’s family and community. Proponents of her case have been working to make the actual transcript of this statement available online. In addition to ethical issues, the use of members of the death penalty is subject to many challenges in terms of medical and operational law. In our country, for example, organ harvesting is only allowed for people with brain death, which is not the case for executed people. Another issue is the infection of prisoners with infectious diseases or addiction, which can medically involve the use of their organs for transplantation with many risks. Therefore, the use of members sentenced to death seems to be associated with many practical and moral challenges, especially as this will involve the medical staff to some extent in the execution of the individual.
Footnote: 1- Article 47 “Regulations on how to implement the rules of limits, deprivation of life, amputation, retribution of soul and limb and injury, diyat, whipping, exile, denial of knowledge, compulsory residence and prohibition of residence in certain place or places” “If the convicted person volunteers for organ donation before or after the execution and there is no medical impediment to organ donation, the judge will execute the criminal verdict in accordance with the instructions issued by the Legal Deputy of the Judiciary within 3 months from the date of approval of this regulation.” “It has been prepared with the cooperation of the Ministry of Justice and the country’s forensic medicine organization and will be approved by the head of the judiciary.”
Dr. Reza Saidi Firoozabadi – Transplant Surgeon