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Old 05-21-2005, 04:49 AM   #1 (permalink)
 
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Condemned man wants to donate liver to dying sister

Condemned man wants to donate liver to dying sister
Quote:
MICHIGAN CITY, Ind.-- An inmate condemned to die by chemical injection this month is seeking a reprieve at least long enough to donate his liver to his dying sister.

Gregory Scott Johnson is scheduled to die May 25 for the 1985 murder of Ruby Hutslar, an 82-year-old woman from Anderson. Authorities say he beat and stomped on Hutslar, then set a fire to try to hide his crime.

Defense attorneys want Gov. Mitch Daniels to grant Johnson a short reprieve that would allow time for medical tests to determine whether the organ is compatible with Johnson's sister.

Johnson's attorneys already are seeking clemency from Daniels, arguing he might not have been condemned if prosecutors had disclosed evidence that another person might have been at the murder scene. A clemency hearing is scheduled for Monday at the Indiana State Prison.

For now, the state has no opinion on whether the reprieve ought to be granted, Deputy Attorney General Steve Creason said. The attorney general's office will weigh in after Johnson's attorneys argue their case Monday, he said.

Eric Meslin, director of the Indiana University Center for Bioethics, said Johnson's offer puts doctors, lawyers and society in a dilemma.

"You can't donate a liver before you die, because that would kill you and that gets in the way of the state killing you," he said. "And you can't donate organs after you die, because the method of execution would render the organs unusable."

Johnson told The Indianapolis Star during an interview at the prison this week that he wants to donate his liver in hopes of leaving something positive to society.

"'I'm sorry' just doesn't cut it," he said. "All of the same stupid things I've done that I thought wasn't hurting anyone-- at that time in my life, I didn't care. I care now, but it's too late."

Johnson admits he played a significant role in Hutslar's death but says another man who helped him actually killed her.

Johnson's 48-year-old sister, Deborah Otis, lives in an Anderson nursing home.

Michelle Kraus, Johnson's attorney, said his request was not an attempt to delay the execution, saying he cares for his sister.

"She is a mother and a grandmother. She has much to live for," Kraus said.

Kraus said doctors could take a piece of Johnson's liver in what is known as a "split liver" transplant. The remainder of the organ would regenerate and, in time, Johnson would be healthy enough to be put to death.

It could take two weeks to two months to recuperate, said Dr. Joseph Tector of the Indiana University School of Medicine.

About three years have passed since the last time a "split liver" transplant was performed in Indiana because there is a risk to the donor, said Sam Davis, director of professional services at the Indiana Organ Procurement Organization.

Tector said patients' chances of survival are much better if they receive a whole liver.

But unlike some other experts, Tector said the lethal injection of potassium chloride used in Indiana would not necessarily render the liver unusable.

AP
So what do you think? Does refusing to allow him to donate his liver to his sister effectively sentence her to death? Does allowing him to do it make him some sort of hero and minimize his crime?

Forget the death penalty arguments, he's going to be executed. Should he be allowed to donate his liver?
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Old 05-21-2005, 04:52 AM   #2 (permalink)
 
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I'm all over the place on this issue, but bottom line is that I'd allow the transplant. I'd keep it out of the news, as much as possible. I probably wouldn't bother with recovery. I might not even bother having him regain conciousness. I hate to make him into anything positive, but if he has use as spare parts, I'd use them.
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Old 05-21-2005, 05:54 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I'd at least let them do the test to see if he is a compatible liver donor for his sister.

I think that the statement that this isn't a ploy to delay the execution is a flat out lie. he's been on death row for a while, his sister has needed a new liver for a while... why all of a sudden is this surfacing now?

Now that this has made the news... He's going to be made into a victim.. poor guy is on death row when he says he's really not that guilty.... and he's f acing his death like a man a nd wants to do good... but the mean old state won't let him be a hero because they want to be the one to kill him...

Sometimes the media can be quite frustrating.

Let the guy donate the liver but don't make it front page news.
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Old 05-21-2005, 06:10 AM   #4 (permalink)
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How about we go one step further and say all people that are on death row should before they're executed tested for doner organs. Then they can be flown to the right state, operated upon and their organs used to at least amend some of the damage they caused in life.

I actually think thats a really good idea, a repayment scheme that they can not opt out of. Forced donation in this case is the right way to go. (only of course if you agree with the death penelty - which i happen not to) Still not a bad idea though.

As for this particular case then they should allow him to donate if he can help his sister (after all not her fault he did what he did) and while they've got him open take whatever else maybe useful then of course kill him of the operating table.
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Old 05-21-2005, 06:43 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Once the essential organs are out, for someone else, no need to do anything to kill him. It happens on its own.

All states should adopt "Compulsory Organ Removal" as their method of death penalty.

Of course, you will find a very hard time locating a doctor willing to be a part of that.
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Old 05-21-2005, 07:38 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Superbelt
Of course, you will find a very hard time locating a doctor willing to be a part of that.
If they have doctors doing the lethal injections, I'm sure you could find some willing to do the organ removal. Hell its easy to justify to yourself. 'He was going to die anyways and now at least some good will come of it!'
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Old 05-21-2005, 08:23 AM   #7 (permalink)
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If they're compatable let him donate. Any thought that maybe instead of trying to become the victim he's actually trying for a little bit of redemption? Without a liver it's not like he's going to be going to life in prison. He's going to die, let the man save a life in return for the one(s) he took.
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Old 05-21-2005, 12:09 PM   #8 (permalink)
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compulsory donation of all useable parts...
sounds like a good idea, but we'd basically be turning death row into an assembly line of spare parts for other peopld...Something about that is quite distressing to me, but i can't put it into words

Voluntary donation of organs should be allowed, in my opinion, merely bc the person really can't be of much other use to society. If they wish to help out other people with their organs, great, if not, they should not be forced to.

Let the guy donate, don't let it go to front page news..or even news in general.
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Old 05-21-2005, 12:24 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Larry Niven used this as the central idea of his early "Known Universe" books. The problem he foresaw was just what Paq said: Death Row becomes an assembly line for parts. That leads to great benefit for the law abiding public, and the death penalty becomes more common.

Then the leap really occurs, and the death penalty becomes acceptable for most any crime. This supposes some medical advances, but nothing too far fetched. It's an interesting idea, and could be a slippery slope...


Having said that, I say "chop em up"!

Last edited by boatin; 05-21-2005 at 02:20 PM..
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Old 05-21-2005, 12:31 PM   #10 (permalink)
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that's pretty much what i was thinking, entirely. I can't really see it happening on a large scale, but i can see it becoming more common than now and much more common than it should be...
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Old 05-22-2005, 01:48 AM   #11 (permalink)
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I'm not sure why this is such a difficulty for them to figure out. Time to heal? Fuck that. Cut out the liver... 10 seconds later, lethal injection. Done.

And yes, I would definitely agree with using death row patients to harvest organs. You get put down, they pull you apart, you get lethal injection if you don't die from the loss of the organs.
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Old 05-22-2005, 10:45 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Seaver
If they're compatable let him donate. Any thought that maybe instead of trying to become the victim he's actually trying for a little bit of redemption? Without a liver it's not like he's going to be going to life in prison. He's going to die, let the man save a life in return for the one(s) he took.
I think this can be placed in the category of "things that make you go 'hmmmmm."

<img src=http://groups.msn.com/_Secure/0SQAdA8cW41wO8JwJ!Z9m*l0zhpS7D6OKqBZhDAYAnpjCOsWaRJJsSL0ivnsYJ6!Qel1OMrwF7xmMuJmdWSK74XWKLFJyXQDs0oGEmpCtFyWCYBEP*r6weg/schiavo2.jpg?dc=4675523455757756707></img>
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Old 05-22-2005, 11:34 AM   #13 (permalink)
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I don't see anythign inhumane about putting someone under general anaesthesia and cutting out whatever is useful. If they want to allow their final moments alive to benefit others, let them. I don't support the death penalty, but it's a reality that I have to live with for now.

I'd also like to point out that a bullet in the back of the head instead of a much more barbaric and torturous procedure would solve this problem altogether.

edit: bringing back hanging would also solve this. It's still legal in a few states.
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Old 05-23-2005, 11:35 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by superiorrain
How about we go one step further and say all people that are on death row should before they're executed tested for doner organs. Then they can be flown to the right state, operated upon and their organs used to at least amend some of the damage they caused in life.

I actually think thats a really good idea, a repayment scheme that they can not opt out of. Forced donation in this case is the right way to go. (only of course if you agree with the death penelty - which i happen not to) Still not a bad idea though.

As for this particular case then they should allow him to donate if he can help his sister (after all not her fault he did what he did) and while they've got him open take whatever else maybe useful then of course kill him of the operating table.
Forced Donations? Boy, isn't that a step closer to violating basic human rights? This guy is volunteering to give up his liver for his dying sister. That's pretty noble, even if the same guy that murdered somebody.

Personally, I think it's pretty inhumane to put a convict person on death row for a long time and the whole time, all he can do is think about when the end comes. To make it worse, you're actually suggesting that the prisoners be ripped apart and take his body part for somebody else to use? The state actually grant prisoners last meal, considers his relgion when "disposting" of him and you're suggesting that we ignore prisoners request not to be ripped apart for his body parts to be distributed throughout the country? No, that's even more inhumane, especially when he's about to be executed.
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Old 05-23-2005, 12:15 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Since he is a convicted murderer, I don't think that he has the right to decide what happens to his parts after death.

If we assume that death row inmates are an acceptable source for donor parts (i.e., setting aside the highly reasonable arguments of Paq, boatin and others), I would suggest that the immediate family of the victims get first dibs. If none of them needed any spare parts, I would put the parts into the general donor system.

I don't see why the relative of a murderer should be able to jump ahead in the donor line.
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Last edited by Redlemon; 05-23-2005 at 12:18 PM..
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Old 05-23-2005, 12:40 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StanT
Forget the death penalty arguments, he's going to be executed. Should he be allowed to donate his liver?
Conditionally, yes. But in this case? Nope. He raised this at the last moment trying to postpone his execution. If he had raised this 2 years ago, I'd have been all for it. Given that he's just trying to buy a little more time, nope.
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Old 05-23-2005, 01:11 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Sure let him donate, but I see no need to wait for him to recover after the surgery, he could even give the whole thing and not just a small piece, because either way, he's a dead man. I don't see the problem here.
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Old 05-23-2005, 05:33 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Sure let him donate, but I see no need to wait for him to recover after the surgery, he could even give the whole thing and not just a small piece, because either way, he's a dead man. I don't see the problem here.
the problem is two-fold: first, IIRC, he's got around a week till he's scheduled to get the gas, and laws would have to be changed to enable it. What he wants is a stay of execution until all the issues resolve themselves, when in actuality he has a date with a needle very shortly. The second problem is that taking his liver would kill him, and the law says he can only be put to death by lethal injection, not by organ removal.
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Old 05-24-2005, 09:26 PM   #19 (permalink)
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...The second problem is that taking his liver would kill him, and the law says he can only be put to death by lethal injection, not by organ removal.
With unique exception to the brain (brain stem, spinal cord, of course), any body part can be removed and the body is still technically alive. Even if the heart were removed, you can still claim an additional 3-5 minutes before brain death occurs. I'm sure there are surgeons more than capable of extracting a body part with the lethal IV line on standby, ready to be deployed once the coast is clear (the organ is removed and won't be harmed). Snip, snip, potassium chloride. Done.
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Old 05-25-2005, 01:06 AM   #20 (permalink)
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The latest news is his request was denied. I heard on the news last night he was positive for Hepatitis B so the liver wouldn't have been suitable. Here's the link and story so you all won't have to register unless you want to.

http://www.theindychannel.com/news/4523680/detail.html

Governor Denies Reprieve For Condemned Man
Inmate Wanted Execution Postponement To Explore Liver Donation

POSTED: 7:29 am EST May 24, 2005
UPDATED: 8:07 pm EST May 24, 2005

INDIANAPOLIS -- Gov. Mitch Daniels on Tuesday said he would not grant a reprieve for a convicted murderer who wanted to postpone his execution -- scheduled for early Wednesday -- to see whether he could donate part of his liver to his ailing sister.


Gregory Scott Johnson


Daniels also rejected Gregory Scott Johnson's request for clemency, saying he found no grounds to second-guess years of court rulings or to reject the recommendation of the Indiana Parole Board.

The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday also denied a stay of execution.

Johnson, 40, is scheduled for execution just after midnight Tuesday for the 1985 killing of an Anderson woman.

Daniels said he accepted the sincerity of Johnson's motiviation for requesting a reprieve. The governor said he might have considered postponing the execution if he believed it would offer a clear medical advantage to Johnson's sister, Debra Otis.

"But ultimately I was not faced with that decision," Daniels said in a press release. "The advice of medical experts, including Debra Otis' own specialist, was definitive that she should not pursue a procedure with Mr. Johnson as donor, but rather will be better served by accepting transplanted organs through the conventional process."

Daniels' decision came after a medical transplant team said Johnson wasn't a medically appropriate organ donor for his sister. The team cited Johnson's large body weight, hepatitis B antibodies, and other hereditary factors, RTV6's Norman Cox reported.

Johnson was convicted of killing Ruby Hutslar, 82. Authorities said he broke into Hutslar's home, beat her, stomped on her and set the house on fire to hide his crime. The state said he confessed to the killing but changed his story after his conviction.

The state attorney general's office says he fully admitted to the murder originally, but changed his story after his conviction. During a hearing before the parole board last week, he denied killing Hutslar but said he was in the house with an accomplice and set the fire.

The parole board had said Johnson was clearly guilty of a brutal murder and should be put to death as scheduled by the Indiana Supreme Court. Some board members scoffed at the reprieve request, with one saying he had shown no compassion when he killed Hutslar, and another saying the media coverage about his request had diverted attention from the brutality of his crime.

Michelle Kraus, Johnson's attorney, had said that her client's blood type matches his sister's. She said that could make his liver compatible with Otis, but more time was needed to explore medical and ethical questions about such a transplant.

Alice Newman, Johnson's mother, said after the parole board hearing that she was hopeful her daughter would receive a new liver from another donor and planned to visit her doctor again within a week. Otis lives in an Anderson nursing home.

Unless Daniels changes his mind, Johnson will become the third person executed since Daniels took office Jan. 10.

Donald Ray Wallace, who was put to death March 10, and Bill Benefiel Jr., who was executed April 21, did not seek clemency through the parole board, but did ask Daniels to grant them clemency. Daniels took no action on those requests.

Johnson would become the 14th person to be executed in Indiana since the state's death penalty was reinstated in 1977.
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Old 05-25-2005, 11:07 AM   #21 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Ustwo
If they have doctors doing the lethal injections, I'm sure you could find some willing to do the organ removal. Hell its easy to justify to yourself. 'He was going to die anyways and now at least some good will come of it!'
Lethal injections are administered by technicians with no specific training in anesthesiology, not doctors.
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Old 05-25-2005, 11:12 AM   #22 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scout
The latest news is his request was denied.
And now, executed. But the topic is still worth discussing.
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Old 05-25-2005, 11:28 AM   #23 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smooth
Lethal injections are administered by technicians with no specific training in anesthesiology, not doctors.
I wasn't sure, but it doesn't change my belief.

Look at the Nazi's and tell me you can't find doctors who would do such a thing.
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Old 05-27-2005, 10:04 AM   #24 (permalink)
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And now, executed. But the topic is still worth discussing.
If he still wants to donate his liver, it's now fine with me.
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Old 05-27-2005, 10:13 AM   #25 (permalink)
 
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I'm glad they tested him, it puts the immediate question to rest. I also think we need to explore voluntary organ donation in capital cases. I don't like the precedent of making it mandatory, but there's a shortage of spare parts, I see no reason not to use anything we can.
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Old 05-31-2005, 10:01 PM   #26 (permalink)
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I don't really see the point in all this anyway. It's not like they would release him of his sentence if he donated an organ- he'd still die. I just don't understand the desire to put it off by, what, a few weeks? A month or two? Pointless.

The moral of the story is: those with very little morality and conscience compensate by a surplus of cowardice. Done.
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