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Debate over Inmate Organ Donation

Updated: Thursday, November 14 2013, 11:29 PM EST
COLUMBUS, Ohio (WKRC) -- Ohio Governor John Kasich says the state is in
"uncharted territory" after delaying an execution to consider a
condemned child killer's unprecedented request to donate his organs.

Ronald Phillips was to be executed Thursday, but governor Kasich issued
a stay Wednesday, saying he wanted to allow time to study whether
Phillips could help save a life by donating non-vital organs, like his

He raped and murdered a three year old girl in 1993. 
The kind of criminal few would say is worthy of mercy. Days before he
was to draw his final breath, Ronald Phillips made a final request: to
donate his organs to his mother and sister, one suffering from kidney
disease, the other a heart condition.

Ohio prison officials
denied the request due to security and logistical issues, but Thursday
Governor John Kasich granted Phillip's request for a stay of execution,
saying, Ronald Phillips committed a heinous crime for which he will
face the death penalty. I realize this is a bit of uncharted territory
for Ohio, but if another life can be saved by his willingness to donate
his organs and tissues then we should allow for that to happen."

Richard Dieter is the executive director of the death penalty information center. He calls this development unprecedented.

is the first case I've heard where an execution has been stopped
literally 24 hours away to allow even the possibility of an organ
donation.  It's actually been proposed a number of times, that an inmate
wants to give his organs perhaps even during the execution, that they
be harvested as he dies, but that has not been allowed."

Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction policy spells out how
organ donations involving inmates will be handled. It dictates, All
costs shall be the responsibility of the inmate and/or organ recipient"
and "all inmate organ donations shall be performed at OSU Medical

Doctor Robert Higgins is the director of OSUs
comprehensive transplant center.  He says this case comes with serious
questions: legal, ethical, and moral.

"Who is going to
administer the procurement of the organs and how that would be done, in
what circumstances that will be conducted, is really a challenging
ethical question."

Phillips' execution has been rescheduled to July 2nd of next year.

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