30 June 2018
Heart Transplant for Prisoner:
The prison population in the United States has been on the rise over the years, and there have been concerns about whether there should be interventions to control the numbers. However, that is not the real point. It is a legal requirement that all prisons should cater to the medical needs of every inmate regardless of the offense they committed. This requirement has the constitutional backing and has been an issue of controversy both to policymakers and the entire public. In this essay, a 32-year-old inmate underwent a heart transplant but later died for the reasons that were not clearly understood. The question that the piece begs to answer is whether inmates should only be limited to certain kinds and costs of medical care. The argument for this essay is in the affirmative although there are situations in which denying such medical care and cost would be detrimental to the specific circumstances of that inmate.
To begin with, it is essential to understand the reasoning behind limiting medical care and costs to particular inmates. One of the reasons is that an inmate might have a terminal disease and such obnoxious expenses would not be helpful to the inmate in the long run (Stem, 213). Reading through the reports about the life of the inmate, it is understood that he was a second time offender who had a heart complication. In all consideration, heart conditions are generally expensive and require extensive care for the patient to survive. For an inmate to be cared for, that patient must show signs of healing. If it reaches a point where the patient requires a transplant, then such cost will be a waste because doctors admit that their responsibility only involves the medical procedure and nothing more. It is a waste of resources to spend close to two million dollars of taxpayers’ money for a process that is eventually futile.
Secondly, the social standing of the inmate must be considered if any medical care and cost are to be provided by the prison department. The inmate in question is a second time offender. Socially, this is an individual who bears a tainted name owing to the various activities that he engages in while free (Roger, Stimpson, and Hostick 123). The inmate fully understood that he had a heart problem. Socially, such an individual should be wary of the activities that they engage in on a day to day basis. On the contrary, the inmate seemed to be an individual who had little regard to the law and was bent on using his health status as a leeway to fleece the prison department and the American taxpayers. The result was his ultimate death. It is therefore not advisable to treat and extend substantial financial costs to a character who does not regard his social or health status.
Moving on, the prison department spends over 660 million dollars in medical fees to cater for the health needs of the inmates. From the reports about the death of the unnamed inmate, complains about the vast budgets abound. Such amount of money should be used o used to cater to the needs of individuals who genuinely need the care and are unable to meet the costs of their treatment. At the time that the inmate was undergoing the transplant, over five hundred patients were waiting in line for the same procedure. It is only prudent that the government considers the needs of the majority of taxpayers with genuine needs rather than the needs of those bent on breaking the law. In utilitarian thought, the overall good of the majority carries the day even if one member of the community is fatally neglected (Conway and Gawronski 216). The government should help those individuals who will be beneficial to the economic development of the country since straight citizens will be able to return to work after the procedure.
Having argued against the extension of medical care and costs to inmates, it is only fair that arguments for such persons be evaluated. The first point to be made is that the law is evident in the operation of health issues in prison. According to the law, all inmates are entitled to medical care and cost for any health issue they may be facing at a particular time during their sentence (Elkayam-Levy 2015). It will be an assault against the law to limit medical care and costs to a person who is in need of the services guaranteed by the law. Additionally, the constitution, under the Bill of Rights guarantees every American citizen the right to life. A usurpation of that right by deed of the person being a criminal is an omission against the law and should be prosecuted.
Secondly, the law of nature accentuates the possibility of second chances. The inmate was serving a fourteen-year sentence in which his behavior would have been corrected. The purpose of incarceration is not always to punish an individual. Being in prison gives one the chance to reflect on their life and think about the mission he can serve to benefit the United States. Bound to be released in 2008, the inmate would have made positive contributions to the growth of the country. It is therefore prematurely irresponsible to deny him medical care and costs just because he was serving a sentence.
In conclusion, although the law guarantees the right to life for every citizen no matter their social status, it is also important to consider the utilitarian perspective of the benefit of extending medical care to individuals who do not care about themselves in the first place.
Conway, Paul, and Bertram Gawronski. “Deontological and utilitarian inclinations in moral decision making: a process dissociation approach.” Journal of personality and social psychology 104.2 (2013): 216.
Elkayam-Levy, Cochav. “Facing the Human Rights Challenge of Prisoners’ and Detainees’ Hunger Strikes at the Domestic Level: Guidance for Policy-Makers, Government Officials, and Legal Advisors in the Management of Hunger Strikes.” (2015).
Stern, Alexandra Minna. Eugenic Nation: Faults and frontiers of better breeding in modern America. Vol. 17. Univ of California Press, 2015.
Watson, Roger, Anne Stimpson, and Tony Hostick. “Prison health care: a review of the literature.” International journal of nursing studies 41.2 (2004): 119-128.