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Posted: March 11, 2011 12:00 a.m.

Durusau: “No” to organ donation a last indignity

Have you ever heard of an organ donor being turned down?

One who met all the conditions to be a

healthy donor, whose donation could bring sight, freedom from dialysis, even life to multiple recipients?

Christian Longo is one such person whose request to be an organ donor has been turned down.

Longo is on death row in Oregon. He can be executed but he can’t be an organ donor.

He want to be an organ donor of his own accord, not to get out of prison. Not to change his sentence. He just wants to be an organ donor.

Here’s the official reason for denial: "The interests of the public and condemned inmates are best served by denying the petition."

Perhaps I can give you a window on the real reason.

I once represented an inmate in an internal prison disciplinary hearing in Louisiana.

The panel hearing the case consisted of various prison staff members.

The panel members were seated at a table but there was no place for myself or my client to sit. The panel offered to get me a chair but said my client would have to stand for the entire hearing.

Prisoners were not allowed to sit in their presence.

Only a "free man" (prison lingo) could sit in their presence.

Many of the rules and regulations in prison are meant to enforce the distinction between a "free man" and a prisoner.

Organ donation is a privilege of a "free man." Even in death, Oregon will insure that a prisoner does not have the same privilege’s as a "free man."

I hope that is of some comfort to all the those on organ donor waiting lists.


Covington resident Patrick Durusau’s column appears on Fridays.

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