Long-serving child rapist may receive $800,000 heart transplant; or, The crucifixion of the American taxpayer

Ralph Alter writes at American Thinker:

13WHAM News has learned that a convicted rapist serving up to 40 years in prison, is being evaluated for a possible heart transplant.

The report goes on to estimate the cost of the procedure at $800,000. The bill, if the procedure is completed, would be paid by New York state taxpayers.

The felon in question, Kenneth Pike, 55, began serving time in 1996 after his conviction for raping and sodomizing a 13 year-old girl in Auburn, New York….

The state’s justification for even considering using state funds (not to mention, the use of a coveted healthy heart for transplant) to prolong the life of a violent criminal is the usual mishmash of politically correct speech:

Strong Hospital doctors, nurses and staff members are committed to providing (care) without discrimination. We believe in and follow the organ allocation policies and guidelines of the federally regulated OPTN/United Network for Organ Sharing, which insures equal consideration for transplantation and access to donated organs.

UPDATE: today’s New York Post has a fuller article on child rapist Kenneth Pike’s planned heart transplant:

NY taxpayers could foot bill for rapist’s heart transplant

If convicted rapist Kenneth Pike receives a heart
transplant, taxpayers will pay the $800,000 bill.

Taxpayers may pay $800,000 to give a life-saving heart transplant to an upstate rapist whose crime of incest was so “grotesquely criminal” that a prosecutor said he should “rot in prison.”

If doctors give the OK, Kenneth Pike, 55, would be the first New York prisoner to get a heart transplant. Pike was flown Monday from the state prison in Coxsackie to Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester, where 49 patients are awaiting donor hearts.

Pike is serving an 18-to-40-year sentence for sexually assaulting a teenage relative in Auburn. He’s eligible for parole in 2013.

A sister and a niece say news of Pike’s possible heart transplant has renewed family divisions over the crime that occurred 17 years ago.

But the sister, Sharon Cardinal of Auburn, says the family agrees that Pike should have the transplant if doctors decide he’s eligible for one.

“He’s doing his time, but he’s still a human being. He still has rights,” said Cardinal, who disputes the victim’s account of the crime, and is convinced Pike is innocent.

“He should be treated as much as any other person,” Cardinal said. “And these people complaining about the taxpayers’ cost—well, we are taxpayers, too. We’re paying for it.”

In this case, the hospital fees will come from taxpayers.

“The policy is pretty simple: We are constitutionally obligated to provide health-care services to the inmates,” said Peter Cutler, a spokesman for the state Department of Correctional Services. “They basically receive the community standard of care.”

The prison system has agreements with hospitals across the state on how much it will pay for various treatments, Cutler said. If a prisoner needs treatment outside of those agreements, the state will pay hospitals at Medicaid rates.

Officials couldn’t say yesterday exactly how much Medicaid would pay for a heart transplant. But an organ donors’ group says the full treatment for a heart transplant—including surgery and seven months in a hospital—costs around $800,000.

Lots of law-abiding Americans have no way to pay for a heart transplant, and rightly wonder why such care would be offered to prisoners, said Arthur Caplan, a medical ethics expert at the University of Pennsylvania.

But the cost is not the doctors’ concern.

“Medicine’s ethic is to help people,” Caplan said. “Even in war, we try to treat people who are trying to kill us. The ethic—and I think it’s a good one—is you treat people in need, and don’t worry about their character and their past.”

Vital organ statistics

$800,000 typical cost

3,147 waiting nationwide

273 waiting in New York

2,333 performed in United States last year

* Three kidneys, one liver and seven bone marrow transplants have been given to NY prisoners over the years

Sources: United Network for Organ Sharing, NY State Department of Correctional Services


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Richard S. writes:

Kenneth Pike is not black, not a woman, not a homosexual. If he belonged to any of those protected classes, the state’s eagerness to expend a huge some of money on an optional luxury level medical procedure would be understandable. Not right, understandable. He’s a white male heterosexual. [LA replies: I doubt that a man who rapes girls is correctly described simply as a male heterosexual, since the description makes him sound normal, which he is not.] The hated class. And a criminal. So what’s going on? As I think it over, the conclusion I come to is that he belongs to the state. He is state property, and therefore is to be afforded the very best care available, cost no object. I really think it’s that simple. Why not a little blue pill for Mr. Pike? That’s good enough for a self-supporting semi-independent subject of the state like me. It’s not good enough because he has been ingested by the state. For the body of the state everything; for those outside the body of the state—tant pis.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at April 23, 2011 09:59 AM | Send

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