Congratulations are in order for Max Joseph and Chris Weller, who turned my piece on harvesting death row inmates’ organs into an animated short. That short was just announced as an official selection at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival.
Chris Weller and Max Joseph produced this short, which by necessity cut out parts of the text. Some of those parts are important, so please check out the original article as a companion piece.
Originally appeared in GOOD magazine.
Every year, the United States suffers attacks on American soil so brutal, our military can do little more than rebuild our wrecked cities, and console the wounded once the enemy has withdrawn.
This enemy is the Atlantic hurricane system, and the price of its damage, in dollars spent and in lives lost, rivals that of man-made war. Hurricane Katrina, which totaled nearly $100 billion and 1,800 dead in 2005, cost only slightly less than a year of the occupation of Iraq, and killed more Americans in a day than the Iraq war claimed in over two years. Last year, Hurricane Ike claimed only 177 lives, but still wreaked $31 billion of damage.
GOOD magazine, issue 009 (“All You Can Eat”)
An unfortunate side effect of hanging or poisoning a man is that his organs go sour before they can be transplanted. Death-row inmates have repeatedly asked to donate their organs, but their requests are always denied. The simple reason is that execution generally ruins organs before they can be harvested. By the time you cut someone down from the gallows or pronounce the injection lethal, the heart and lungs will have thumped and puffed for the last time. Soon after, the kidneys start rotting, and before long nothing is useful but the corneas. Even with beheading— still practiced in Saudi Arabia—the heart and lungs probably wouldn’t make it, says Douglas Hanto, chief transplant surgeon at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston.