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Scott Sisters Kidney Transplant Violates Donation Laws

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Uploaded on Dec 31, 2010

ABC - Ethicists say suspending a prison sentence on the condition that one sister give the other a kidney is a "quid pro quo" and threatens the ethical underpinnings of living donation laws.

Dr. William Hurlburt, a Stanford neurologist who sat on the President's Council on Ethics, said the news was troubling.

"We pondered over and over this issue and came to the conclusion that it was such a tricky medical realm with so much risk for abuse that we agreed organ donation must always remain altruistic," he said.

On Thursday, the governor signed an order that suspended the Scott sisters' life sentences as long as Gladys, 36, who is healthy, donates her kidney to Jamie, 38, who has been on dialysis. The women have been imprisoned for the past 16 years on charges of masterminding an armed robbery.

"As soon as the governor began throwing around commutation -- getting out of her prison sentence -- he began to undercut the ethical framework," said Dr. Art Caplan, director of the Center for Bioethics at the University of Pennsylvania. "He has now put the sisters' donation in jeopardy because the parole is absolutely a payment, which is against the law. It would be considered pressure or coercion."

READ MORE: http://abcnews.go.com/Health/scott-si...

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