Monday, December 11, 2006
Would you take organs from executed prisoners?
Posted By CNN: 12:58 PM ET
  51 Comments
If I needed an organ to survive, then cost would not be an issue. I would find the money. Would I get involved in the transaction of an executed criminal for his organs? Yes. Desperate times calls for desperate measures. Who else would help me?
Posted By Anonymous Nicki, Calgary, Alberta : 1:16 PM ET
If I needed an organ transplant one thing I wouldn't do is watch a video about organ transplants from China!..lol That was a pretty graphic video. I think if a person was desperate enough it really wouldn't matter where the organ came from, the will to live would outweigh any doubts you may have. As long as the blood and tissue matched and of course if you could afford it.
The Doctor in the video said the man was being 'ethically irresponsible' but like many other things in life I say don't judge unless you've walked in their shoes. I'm looking forward to this special series.
Posted By Anonymous Bev Ontario Canada : 1:27 PM ET
My late sister-in-law (my brother's first wife) went for a double lung transplant in 1995. She had Cystic Fibrosis and it was a last resort for her. She didn't survive the transplant due to the fact that she was hiding (from the doctors) how truly sick she was because she wanted, so badly, the chance to live. In fact, all of the recipients from the one donor (kidney, heart, lung, cornea) died soon after their surgery which lead us to believe there may have been something wrong with the donor or the tissue typing.

But ultimately, if the other choice is death, I think most people would chose a life saving surgery.

Cosmetic surgery is purly vanity. Those who choose to go overseas for the sake of vanity are silly.
Posted By Anonymous Em, Toronto, Ontario, Canada : 2:10 PM ET
The will to live - unless you're in the midst of contemplating suicide - is extremely powerfull. For a much needed organ: China is like around the block since I would go to freakin' Jupiter to get my organ.

But we wouldn't have to rely on other peoples misery and death if only - dear god - this country would get its act together and allow stem cell research or other advanced unexplored opportunities.
Posted By Anonymous Marisa, Brooklyn, NY : 2:18 PM ET
Well this is something new. I was personally getting tired of hearing the same thing over and over again on Iraq. 360 is back!
Posted By Anonymous Mr. Poe, Seattle WA : 2:29 PM ET
Geeze! That is extreme to exucute a person for their organ. The world isn't a utopia people pass away every day but, I feel when it's your time to go it's your time to go. I know that they are exicuting just prisoners might seem miniscule or better to the community but they are still people too. I mean who knows what might happen next if the government starts to execute prisoners. Will the government start to execute people who they think are inaddicate to the standards? All I know is let it be and God will take care of it...
God Bless & see ya on 360,
JOANNA
Posted By Anonymous joanna parker DE : 2:42 PM ET
That is a tough question... Ethically, it is easy for me to say I would never do that, but if I were to come face to face with that decision, I can't honestly say I wouldn't... The video addresses some issues that I was not aware of like people that are being executed for petty crimes and how much China is profiting from this practice...
Posted By Anonymous Sherry Sarasota, fl : 3:10 PM ET
I'll go as far as my money can go!
Posted By Anonymous Jemillex Bacerdo Chicago, IL. : 3:15 PM ET
Why not--as mentioned above, if you really want to live, the source shouldn't be of concern just because it's from a prisoner. These folks obviously did something in life to earn an execution (then again, in China, did they really?), so maybe they can help someone by doing some good now that they're gone.
Posted By Anonymous Dave Sumers, Tinley Park, IL : 3:16 PM ET
My sister needs a kidney transplant, her second. The kidney she received from our mother and has had it for 10 years; it is now failing. Our dad has diabeties and my brother has health problems and I do not match. I talked to my sister about people buying organs from China and she said no, she would rather stay on the list, the way you should. People who are doing it the illegal way are just hurting the cause of organ donation.
Posted By Anonymous Lynn Atlanta, Ga : 3:23 PM ET
Hi Anderson,

I would like to say that I would never do that....but I just don't know what I would do if myself or a loved one were in that situation. I know I would do anything and go any distance for my loved ones, but how far is too far?
I just don't know.
Posted By Anonymous Jessica, Milwaukee WI : 4:06 PM ET
We are quick to accuse China of being unethical, irreponsible, illegal, etc. in "organ tourism". However, our country has over 90,000 people anxiously awaiting an organ or organs. Why not accuse the majority of our citizens of being uneducated regarding organ donor awareness? Why not promote that awareness more aggressively & procure more organs locally through UNOS? How many people do YOU know who have the box checked on their driver's licenses?
Posted By Anonymous Aija Rabinowitz, Owings Mills, MD : 4:15 PM ET
Anderson,

We live in a highly privileged society, the most sophisticated of high tech cosmetic procedures are available at our whim, the frenzy and pressure of looking better and younger are I believe largely driven by hollywood's standards and media hype created by those very standards, the feed from one another. My grandmother's genaration accepted growing old gracefully, being healthy is more if a priority. In this day and age it seems people will go to any desperate lengths for the sake of superficial beauty. (nice new web page by the way). Maritza Munoz
Posted By Anonymous Maritza Munoz San Jose, Ca : 4:19 PM ET
360 Team, thankfully I have never been put in that situation. I have seen many stories about what China is doing and I believe it's wrong. If someone who is already sentenced to death chooses to donate their organs, then so be it. The way I understand it, that's not the way it works in China. I am against the death penalty as it is and this is one more example of why I believe it's wrong. The next thing you know there will be an illegal organ black market and you could wake up and find your kidney missing. (That part was a joke, one too many Nip/Tuck episodes watched)
Posted By Anonymous Melina - Mesa, AZ : 4:33 PM ET
I guess the first thing that comes to mind is the death camps of WWI with Dr. Joseph Mengele. Though I guess unrelated in some terms, it was and is a total disregard to human rights and humanity. Organ tourism I believe is just another excuse to execute any matched donor with a prospective payee who is willing to pay at any cost.

No, I cannot place myself in the DeLeon family's situation, and I probably would "go to any lengths" to find an organ if it was my husband or children. And with 90,000 on the list for donations, I can understand why families may be desperate enough to go to China to find hope. But I feel the best way to help with the organ donation issue is to place yourself on the donation list. I know it may sound morbid, I am an organ donor and it is listed on my Indiana driver's license. What am I going to do with the organs after I died? I realize it is creepy for some individuals to sign the "form" to donate organs if early or sudden death occurs, but it is the most generous thing a person could do for humanity. In addition, it might give a family piece of mind to watch a part of you to live on and discourage the harvesting of organs from foreign countries for profit.
Posted By Anonymous Sharon D., Indianapolis, IN : 4:50 PM ET
Brilliant idea, cut them up and sell the parts, why not, they may as well serve some purpose other than being a drain on the tax payer.
Posted By Anonymous Andy Bright, Anchorage, AK : 5:10 PM ET
I wonder how President Bush feels about executing prisoners for their organs, we know he thinks stem cell research is murder, yet he supports capital punishment.
Posted By Anonymous Tim Bates, Charlotte NC : 5:20 PM ET
Pro-choice people are against executing murderers, but in favor of executing innocent babies by abortion. I wonder how pro-choice people feel about aborting babies for their organs. Are organs of fetuses formed enough for adult patients to use?
Posted By Anonymous DB - North Chicago : 6:07 PM ET
As an Operating room nurse for 40 years and having been involved in organ transplants and organ harvests, the sadness that I felt during those procedures would keep me from ever having a transplant. I would not want to live the rest of my life feeling that kind of sadness for another.
Posted By Anonymous Judy Stage Brooklyn, Michigan : 6:33 PM ET
I think it's a wonderful idea. As long as the tissue is disease free i would think you could harvest and save any and all that would be used. It's time to donate and be generous to those in need . I personally have a pink sticker on my D.L. to take whatever organs they need to help someone else if i am involved in a fatal.What more could you do than give the gift of life. It's like a rebirth---
Posted By Anonymous Vicki Auburn,Ca. : 6:52 PM ET
Hey~
I think the Chinese organ transplant business is almost sci~fi. This is definitely a violation of human rights.This malice without comsent is an aberation against humanity. Almost blasphemy. Shades of the movie coma!!! I'll bet there is a low crime rate in China! I feel for people like Eric. I hope he makes it. Many times a liver tumor is a secondary location. Maybe, it is just the type of cancer Eric has but I wish him the best.
Black market fertility drugs. I can understand couples wanting to have children but really, if you can't why not adopt? There are so many children in the world that need homes and such an overpopulation of people that I don't understand the desire to aquire the black market fertility drugs. Plastic surgery is fine as long as you don't have the Michael Jackson syndrome!!!!!!Just my opinion!
Posted By Anonymous Betty Ann, Nacogdoches TX : 7:12 PM ET
On the question of transplants, no matter what anyone says, I don't think this question can be honestly answered unless you, or someone you love is in a life-threatening situation.

It is a shame to see decent people forced to declare bankruptcy to travel to China and put themselves at risk in an attempt to save their lives while many of the "rich and famous," some of whom continue to abuse themselves with drugs and alcohol, are easily accommodated.

On the issue of fertility, if people cannot afford to "get pregnant" how can they afford to raise a child? In a world where so many children are waiting for loving homes I think going to extemes to have your "own child" is an act of selfishness.

Jo Ann
Posted By Anonymous Jo Ann Matese, North Royalton, Ohio : 7:21 PM ET
As long as they want to do it, and others are willing to receive them; they don't make any money; and they go to the hospital in hand cuffs, stay in hand cuffs, and leave in hand cuffs. It sure would add many donors to the lists.
Posted By Anonymous melanie, rosedale, va. : 7:24 PM ET
Pardon me while I throw up! Are you our of your friggin mind?!!!

I am a Registered Nurse and was working as a Home Health Nurse providing Skilled Intermittant Care to patients in their home. On of my patients was an elderly man who was a heart recipient of a dozen + years back, He was aging and the years and multiple medical problems were taking their toll. I have always believed that donors are such honorable souls, and their families so brave and selfless. Donor recipients often go through a period of the obvious great gratitude, but remourse and depression as well knowing someone usually died tragically so they could live.
I will neve for get the indescrible experience that fateful moment when I learned by quite casually who the heart donor was for this patient. He was a young father from my home town where I went to Nursing School. He had picked up his toddler and strappered her into her car seat and then traveled toward home. If I recall, his wife was following in a different vehicle behind. As he traveled through a large intersection, on a green light, rival gang members were squaring off on each side, oblivious to the traffic. One of the bullets fired by a gang member narrowly missed this fathers toddler but struck hime in the head killing him. He was this heroic donor, and his wife, she was my preceptor who taught me one on one how to be a Registered Nurse, working nights at my first job in a hospital as a new nurse. I'll never forget the sound of his heart beat - He was a true hero.
My short answer, No, executed criminals do not deserve the honor of donating their organs or tissues to other human beings.
Posted By Anonymous Robert Harbin-McGee, RN Nipomo, CA : 7:28 PM ET
Maybe they could offer incentives to prisoners to donate organs? Like shorter sentences or probation. A life for a life eh?
Posted By Anonymous Christian Handley, Kailua HI : 7:31 PM ET
One alternative to think about, as far as national policies go, is to use the "dissent solution" rather than the "consent solution". With the dissent solution, everyone is presumed to be an organ donor unless the deceased has made it known that she doesn't want to donate her organs. The argument is that the shortage of organ donors is not soleley from people not wanting to donate their organs, but also from people not thinking about the issue and not coming to a decision either way. Depending on the law, family members could also be allowed to prevent the donation. Why struggle through deciding whether or not to go overseas for an organ when it could be possible to extend the donor lists here? (To be clear: Though this is the policy in other countries, so far as I can learn in the U.S., this policy has never been proposed by UNOS and is not in practice in any state.)
More about organ donation with UNOS and Donate Life America:
http://www.unos.org/
http://www.donatelife.net
Posted By Anonymous Lesley, Oakland, CA : 8:08 PM ET
There is a key piece of information that was not mentioned at all in this CNN report. It is the thousands of innocent men, women, and children that practice Falun Gong that are illegally imprisoned in China. These peaceful meditators are being murdered for their organs. An independent Canadian report has concluded this practice (killing for organs) has been going on since the persecution of Falun Gong started in 1999. These are not executed prisoners. These are innocent people, good people, that are being killed because the Chinese government wants to wipe them out. Why didn't CNN broadcast the Congressional hearing on Falun Gong that brought this evidence to light? Why didn't CNN interview the human rights lawyer and former Canadian parliament member who conducted the independent investigation of organ harvesting from Falun Gong practitioners? Why didn't CNN interview Falun Gong practitioners who escaped to the U.S. that were forced to undergo blood tests to match organ compatability while they were being tortured in forced labor camps in China? The executed prisoner story is only the tip of the ice burg.
Posted By Anonymous Lee Randazzo, Middletown, New York. : 8:15 PM ET
I would take the organ in a heart-beat. If I felt the devil was still in the organ, I would go to Church the first available Sunday. I would wait for the Pastor to invited people to the alter, being the first in line, for prayer, to chase the devil out!
Posted By Anonymous Claude Calgary AB Canada : 8:19 PM ET
I think there are several ethical issues here.
1. Execution. Executing a person for something [ranging from murder to fraud to politics] they may [from "reasonable doubt" to "the government thinks so"] have done violates fundamental human rights and it is ethically questionable to indirectly participate in it. On the other hand, the person is dead, no point in following them by not using their organs.

2. Consent. Has the organ donor freely consented? I understand why the US would question the ability of prisoners to give valid consent, as they are impliedly under duress; however, since a person's preference regarding donation is not known to those who sentence or pardon, there is no duress. Prisoners should be able to designate what happens to their bodies after they die, whether it be cremation, burial, or organ donation. It is more problematic to determine a default rule. Is it better to presume a person consented and save many lives; or presume the person didn't consent?

3. Profit. There is a black market for organs. It wasn't clear whether anyone in China benefits from harvesting these organs, but profit provides an incentive to kill people for their organs, whether legally or illegally.

I would at least have to draw the line there. I could not live with myself if someone was killed so that I would have a chance to live a little longer.

I am looking forward to the show. I hope you also mention organ donation in the US. A lot of people don't specify they want to donate their organs because they fear they will receive sub-standard health care. I hope you try to dispel this terrible myth.
Posted By Anonymous Rebecca, Lincoln, Nebraska : 8:56 PM ET
Yikes! Tough question for a Monday. I suppose that I would. I would like to live a long and happy life. I don't think I would really want to know whose organs they were, just that they were a match. I would certainly not want to kill someone for their organs, but if they were already available I would consider them fair game. Hmm can't wait to see what is next!
Posted By Anonymous Kathy Chicago, Il : 9:03 PM ET
If I lost my eyes, I would lose a part of myself. My entire career as a criminal justice researcher is dependent on what I read, write, and interpret. My career virtually would be finished without the use of my eyes. If a death row inmate donated his/her eyes, I would accept the donation. The donation would save a part of my life; and ironically, I would be seeing through the eyes of a criminal.

Therefore, overall, I think that "how far one will go" depends on the circumstances, and who or what is threatened.
Posted By Anonymous Michele, Ewing, New Jersey : 9:37 PM ET
The only way I would take an organ from an executed is if his/her family donated it. Once that prisoner is executed he has paid his/her debt to society. He/she is now a regular deceased person and they should be treated accordinally.
Posted By Anonymous Jon, Mt. Carmel IL : 10:02 PM ET
I feel an organ donation is a last way for someone who has no use or worth in our society (a condemned prisoner), to give back. Someone who has done something to warrant execution will receive their punishment regardless, why not help someone on the way out?
Posted By Anonymous Justin, Gainesville, FL : 10:24 PM ET
Isn't these the way of the world today.I need it right now i dont care if there is a waiting list, its about me. Morals take the back sit, people would do just about anything for mortality and money. If your own govenment would not allow these acts to take place in your country why would you seek what you would otherwise not get in your own country. A lot of people do not like the way other governments run their countries but they do not seem to mind just as long as they get what they want ( what hypocrites we have become). How do you even live with yourself knowing that someone was unjustly treated so that you could get what you want? Just remember that transplants buy you time not mortality, and that someone died so that you may live a few more years. That is why its important how you received that organ.

When it comes to fertility i cannot begin to imagine the pain that couples go through when they know they cant conceive. It always seems unfair when you see individuals complaining about their children or treating them badly when you so desperately want to have a child. Before you concider drastic ways that maybe illegal or even dangerous remember that there are so many children who would do anything to have a loving mom and dad. If kids could, they would buy parents.
Posted By Anonymous Val , Hesston KS : 10:45 PM ET
No, not for me, I wouldn't. But a loved one, yea, I think I probably could live with that...might keep me up nights, thinkin', but, I could live with it. Desperation's an amazing thing.
Posted By Anonymous LR, Wheeling, WV : 11:33 PM ET
The 'justice' system in Communist China is virtually non existent. Many, if not most, of the prisoners being murdered for their organs have committed no actual crime. They are innocent victims of political and religious persecution.

To me, buying an organ of an innocent person to save one's own life is akin to selling oneself to the devil. Life on earth is short, as it is. You may achieve a temporary extension to your earthly life, but at what cost to your eternal soul?
Posted By Anonymous Christena L, North Las Vegas, NV : 11:37 PM ET
I say, why not? It's not like criminal behavior is a form of atavism. As long as there is consent from the prisoner, I see nothing wrong about not wasting a perfectly good organ.

The real danger comes from putting prisoners in death row just to harvest their organs.

I suggest anyone who is interested in this topic read the play Harvest by Manjula Padmanabhan. It's a quick read and discusses the situation I mentioned above.
Posted By Anonymous Kimberly, Boston MA : 12:46 AM ET
If I'm dying, an organ's an organ. No matter who it comes from.
Posted By Anonymous Lorant, Beaverton, Oregon : 1:41 AM ET
I don't think any part of an executed
prisioner should live on. They are sentanced to die so let them die completly. There should be no fore of satisfaction afforded them.
Posted By Anonymous Jerry Chennault Amarillo, Tx. : 2:33 AM ET
We shouldn't have to look at this question. In the US, being designated an Organ Donor should be the default, and each person should have the right to decline. If we did this, laziness and ignorance (people not going to the effort to get themselves classified as donors) would not get in the way of getting the many willing (but lazy/ignorant) donors listed. And anyone who did NOT want to be a donor would have his/her wishes respected as long as he/she exercized this right by declining to be listed. This way we wouldn't even have to go such drastic and ethically problematic lengths as looking to China and to coercive methods, executions, profit-motives, and so on.
Posted By Anonymous Dr. Lisa, Baltimore MD : 2:42 AM ET
Well, as I speak, I probably would not, but if the time comes and that's my only choice. Serious decisions will have to be made.
Posted By Anonymous J. Nguyen, Vancouver, BC : 3:26 AM ET
I would use any I could get my hands on if would keep me alive longer, I would love to be able to grow clones for spare parts
Posted By Anonymous tippy weed calif : 3:54 AM ET
Life taught me that until you are in a situation, you can't know how you'll react. I imagine i would try everything to stay alive but I would want to know that the organs are viable. My first born baby boy died. No organs would have saved him(the brain was affected), I could only hold him as he took his last breath. My second son is healthy,but if he needed an organ, I would cross the world on my knees to save him. Maybe it's selfish, but I wish I never have to hold another child as he dies.
Bottom line, we each have to decide if we want to be an organ donor,sign our cards(I did) so that our family members don't have to make such a huge decision in a very difficult time. Maybe the waiting lists would shorten.

Joanne Ranzell
Laval Qc
Posted By Anonymous Joanne Ranzell Laval Quebec : 9:14 AM ET
Dead is dead. If a life can be saved, go for it.

The dead don't need their organs; it seems fair that one who may have taken away the life of another can give life to someone else. An eye for an eye, no?
Posted By Anonymous AD Washington, D.C. : 10:17 AM ET
I don't think that the issue is who is the doner. I believe that just because someone is a prisoner that doesn't mean that if you take an organ from them it will make you one as well. If someone needs an organ to survive then it doesn't matter who you take it from because you are saving a life.
Posted By Anonymous Breanna Peoples, Hale Center, Texas : 11:23 AM ET
Yes I would. I would because what if that organ can save my life. I know that some people might think that they never would do that but you have to realise what did that person do to you? Everybody is alike in some wierd way you might not believe it but itd true.
Posted By Anonymous Ciara Ny,ny : 11:44 AM ET
Absolutely prepostorous!

China seems like a Nazi concentration camp when it comes to its organ transplant trade. With close to 5000 prisoners being executed in the past 2 years, and their organs being foraged for top dollar value, their helplessness is like that of guinea pigs in a laboratory.
And listening to the fact that many of the organs are even removed before the actual execution, its hard to believe that even if a 'genuine' consent is got from the prisoner, whether the authenticity to that consent is truly genuine or not! Consents could be coerced at the rate at which these heartless executions are conducted. The whole phenomenon is absolutely transperant and it can be clearly be seen that the avaricious, cold and ruthless Chinese government will use their most cowardly tactics on prisoners to extract a pound out of their flesh. Ruthless injustice in the face of the world. And I abhor people who use these organs to justify their own fitful living on this earth at the expense of someone else's ruthless murder! I'm sure the Karma for their bad judgement will come right back at them.
To be imprisoned for their crimes is one thing, and to dissect them within their prison is a punishment that even God did not call for.
I strongly reprimand the Chinese government for their barbaric acts, and I hope their heinous example will not be followed by other parts of the civilized world.
I might be on my death bed with 10 of my organs demanding replacement, but I would rather die a death of dignity than survive on someone else's sinful treachery. And my family would support my wishes!
Posted By Anonymous Rekha, Fremont, CA : 11:50 AM ET
You can also ask: what would you do to save some strangers life? Signing a donor card is then a very good start.

In the situation of pure desperation people will do anything to get what they need and there will always someone willing to become rich of it and find reasons to make why they did it acceptable.
Posted By Anonymous N. Haasnoot, Zeist, The Netherlands : 12:11 PM ET
...Hell NO....RE: the organs.
Governments would use that
to curb medical costs.
Posted By Anonymous Sammie , Bedford, Texas : 12:25 PM ET
No, I have worked in a prison for over 25 years, many have drug and alcohol issues, hep. A,B,and C, not to mention HIV, and many have high risk behaviors like getting tattoos in prison or sexual relations with other inmates.
Posted By Anonymous Barb, Fulton,Mo. : 4:42 PM ET
Come on people, if you want an organ you need to be a little more proactive- no more just sitting around waiting for Texas to off another criminal. Have you noticed the number of people walking around around with not 1, but 2 kidneys! It's the holidays and now is the time to be sharing those plump, healthy kidneys. So you don't need a kidney? I heard a liver goes for about 3 kidneys on Craiglist. Remember, we need to stop being greedy with our organs and share.
Posted By Anonymous Emma Russell, Downingtown, PA : 5:36 PM ET
ABOUT THE BLOG
A behind the scenes look at "Anderson Cooper 360°" and the stories it covers, written by Anderson Cooper and the show's correspondents and producers.




SUBSCRIBE
    What's this?
CNN Comment Policy: CNN encourages you to add a comment to this discussion. You may not post any unlawful, threatening, libelous, defamatory, obscene, pornographic or other material that would violate the law. Please note that CNN makes reasonable efforts to review all comments prior to posting and CNN may edit comments for clarity or to keep out questionable or off-topic material. All comments should be relevant to the post and remain respectful of other authors and commenters. By submitting your comment, you hereby give CNN the right, but not the obligation, to post, air, edit, exhibit, telecast, cablecast, webcast, re-use, publish, reproduce, use, license, print, distribute or otherwise use your comment(s) and accompanying personal identifying information via all forms of media now known or hereafter devised, worldwide, in perpetuity. CNN Privacy Statement.
Home  |  World  |  U.S.  |  Politics  |  Crime  |  Entertainment  |  Health  |  Tech  |  Travel  |  Living  |  Money  |  Sports  |  Time.com
© 2014 Cable News Network. Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. All Rights Reserved.