State Rejects Death Row Inmate's Organ Donation & That’s Just Wrong

Doug McGuireIn 1989, Doug McGuire was found guilty of raping and killing a pregnant woman. He's been in prison ever since, until today, where his sentence of death by lethal injection was carried out. His death didn't come without controversy, though it wasn't for the reasons you might think.

McGuire was put to death using an untested combination of drugs due to the shortage of lethal injection staple drugs in the U.S. His attorneys fought to have his sentence postponed but were ultimately denied this request. All the same, this pointed a spotlight at another controversial aspect of McGuire's case. He requested to donate his organs and this request was denied.


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I'm a huge proponent of organ donation. I think almost universally and without exception, when a person is able, they should donate their organs. The amount of lives that can be changed or saved through donation is tremendous. It seems like a no-brainer: Giving the gift of life even when our own time on this Earth is through. Any death row inmate who wishes to do so should be allowed to.

It doesn't change the fact that McGuire took a life. Nothing can do that. But his desire to do it demonstrates that in his time behind bars, he's gained an understanding of the importance of life. I think that should be acknowledged.

The state disagreed. The reason they gave for denying his request was McGuire's inability to find a family member to receive the organs for transport. Given that at the time of his death, his children were present and weeping, I feel as though there might be more to the story. If the officials were concerned that the unknown combination of drugs might impact the organs, they should have just said so. Otherwise, by refusing the request, they are guilty in their own right of denying someone life.

Do you think his request was unfairly denied?


Image via Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction

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