Tuesday, December 03, 2002

Have a Heart-Today's the 35th anniversary of the first heart transplant; yesterday, I heard one talk radio guy (Hannity, IIRC) bash the idea of death row inmates getting heart transplants. The larger issue is inmates in general getting transplants. I'm not as angry as our talker friend. Yes, it cost taxpayer money, but so does food and water and shelter. We could starve our prisoners to death in a month or two and save a lot of money, but that's not what a civilized society does. Where I might have issue is whether to allow inmates to be near the front of the line for transplants when there are fewer organs than people waiting for transplants. If you have two 40 year olds needing a transplant (remember, if they don't get them, they typically die) and one of them is serving 15-20 for armed robbery, you'd think that the one who's not a jailbird would get priority. But what about our 40-year-old robber versus a 75-year-old who's only got a few years to live given his other problems? Note that our oldster's on Medicare, so the government's picking up the tab either way. I'd go with the robber (duck, incoming). The advantage of modern medical care is that we can do things that we couldn't do when I was a tot. The downside is that we have to pay for it as a society. Count your blessings that we have the capabilities to do organ transplants and have to pay the doctors and nurses to do them.

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