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Which organs and when?

Massachusetts prisoners may get shorter sentences for organ donations
A new bill proposes that prisoners get at least two months off their sentences for donating bone marrow or organs

Two months seems pretty miserly for a heart for example. Or in that case are they allowed an extra two months on death row first?

16 thoughts on “Which organs and when?”

  1. Often wondered about organ transplants.

    Do they get cleaned first ? Or are they bunged into the patient “as is” ?

  2. Indeed so but I didn’t say so because I can never recall which of those Sci Fis are written by him and which by Pornelle (and yes, I know some were by both). And I also end up trying to identify some of them as by Pohl…..

  3. What about an auction and the proceeds going to the victim of the crim’s crime?
    A bit more out there happen to rob someone who could do with a new kidney? uno reverso.

  4. For bone marrow extraction, 2-months feels on the size of reasonable, it is painful to extract (or was last time I heard) and recovery includes potentially weakened immune response, so susceptibility to disease.

    For something more significant like a kidney, it feels like nowhere near enough (and I’m no fan of prisoners), it feels like exploitation, but then again the prisoner can always say “No” I guess.

    Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle would probably say “Told you so”.


  5. It’s probably Niven’s “Jigsaw Man” you’re thinking of. I’ve long thought the death penalty for false advertising (and spam) would be a good idea.

  6. Trying to remember whether I’ve read Jigsaw Man. The one I was thinking of was Patchwork Girl. But of course a lot of Larry’s stories have organleggers in them.

  7. Well it’s voluntary today. But what if the uptake is insufficient to satisfy demand? Move them to China I suppose.

  8. The whole point of Niven’s ‘organlegger’ world of short & long stories was that the demand would be insatiable, so before long, a second speeding offence would result in you being disassembled for parts: the voters would demand it.
    And people would be dragged of the streets to supply unofficial transplanters servicing those unable to get official replacements (in ‘cuteasys?).

    Modern China & India, in other words for convicts and abduction respectively.

    “The Patchwork Girl” had the young lady being put ‘into store’ pre-trial, and the officials jumping the gun and using the parts before the trial was held. She was proven innocent, so had to be put back together with any old bits they could find. Pre-2020, this sounded implausible.

    The organlegger world was Niven’s alone: Pournelle didn’t cowrite any of them (though memory fades…)

  9. When an Igor suffers irreparable damage (which is hard to achieve in people who install back-up hearts and a lightning rod down their backs), they are usually “broken down for thpareth”; their functioning body-parts are distributed amongst those who need them and their brains are conserved until such time as another Igor finds a semi-willing patient with irreparable head-trauma, or manages to construct a suitable body from available parts.

    “Wathte not want not”.

  10. How long before we see human rights cases pleading that this is unfair to those whose tissuses are not compatible with patients who need transplants?

  11. CJN: I thought we were expecting to see a human rights intervention to guarantee the organ’s equal right to reject the recipient – as in the case of George Best’s liver transplant.

  12. “I can never recall which of those Sci Fis are written by him and which by Pornelle (and yes, I know some were by both)”

    A good first cut is that anything where the protagonist is in the military is not by Niven. I’m pretty sure one reason he teamed up with Pournelle was to get that perspective.

  13. I think one reason we’re not closer to Niven’s world is that organ transplants still aren’t all that great – they’re better than the alternative (dying), but as far as I know you still have to take immunosuppressants for the rest of your life.

    Niven had one protagonist (Gil the Arm) who lost an arm and had it replaced. I don’t think that’s happened yet. When that can be done, look out…

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