Ohio Killer Denied Opportunity to Save a Life

Ohio KillerOhio killer Ronald Phillips certainly owes a debt to society and soon he will pay part of that debt with his life. However, Phillips knows leaving a part of himself behind will be the real payback for the life he stole. Each day 18 people die waiting for a much needed organ transplant and one person can save eight lives by becoming a donor. Nearly 200,000 people are currently on the transport list in the United States, yet statistics only cover the number of recipients on the approved waiting list. There are significantly more people in need of organ transplants that have yet to be deemed ready to be placed on the list. With over 2 million deaths a year, only about 100 million people are organ donors. Breaking down that blood types and organs must match both donor and recipient significantly lowers the survival rate for those needing new organs. So when convicted Ohio killer Ronald Phillips was deemed a match to donate his kidney he was shocked that the state’s Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections had denied the opportunity to save a live.

Chief Counsel for the Ohio Department of Corrections has confirmed that the decision has been made to deny his request to donate a kidney to save his own mother’s life because he will not have enough time to recover before his scheduled execution date. Proponents of organ donation are dumbfounded by the idea that a man who will pay for his crime by losing his life needs to be fully recovered before execution. The state argues that not allowing Phillips a full 100 days of recovery would be considered cruel and unusual punishment. Opponents of the death penalty argue that the penalty in of itself is deemed cruel and unusual punishment.

The death penalty has been a part of society for centuries. Many believe in such an advanced society that we should have other methods of punishment for the most extreme crimes. The modern belief is that capital punishment is outlined in the Bible verse “an eye for an eye.” No matter what side of the argument you’re on, everyone agrees that saving a life is a noble thing. For the state of Ohio to deny Phillips the opportunity to save a life perplexes many. Many states that still utilize the death penalty are being forced to stay executions because the availability of the drugs used to execute prisoners have been in short supply over the last few years. In January 2014 Ohio recieved overwhelming backlash for using a controversial set of untested drugs on an inmate that caused extreme convolutions and took nearly 10 minutes to end his life. The likelihood that Phillips’ execution date will be extended due to a limited supply of the drug is very high. So the state’s argument that he will not have enough recovery time could be invalid. Secondarily, an inmate does not have to be physically fit to be executed. In June 2007, death row inmate Jimmy Bland was executed in Oklahoma after the state parole board unanimously rejected a request for clemency after being diagnosed with advanced stage four lung cancer. 

Ronald Phillips’ original request did not include the fact that his sister is in need of a heart transplant that he was also willing to donate because that would have been an automatic denial by the board because his organs would not be viable after reciving the drugs to save his life. An appeal would take longer than his current life expectancy as he is scheduled to die on July 2. There look to be no other options for the convicted Ohio killer to have an opportunity to save either life, his mother’s nor his sister’s.

Opinion By Kimberly Beller


The Columbus Dispatch

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