Rhode Island First: Inmate Gets Liver Transplant on Taxpayers

Tuesday, 07 Aug 2012 08:29 PM

By Todd Beamon

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A prison inmate in Rhode Island has received a liver transplant at a Boston hospital – the first in that state to undergo an organ transplant, a corrections spokeswoman said.

Jose Pacheco, 27, is serving a 6 1/2-year sentence for robbery at the Adult Correctional Institutions in Rhode Island, the Providence Journal reports.

The procedure, which was confirmed on Monday by state Corrections Department spokeswoman Tracey Zeckhausen, occurred last week in Boston because no Rhode Island hospital performs liver transplants.

Costs for a liver transplant could top $1 million. Rhode Island is required, by U.S. Supreme Court precedent, to pay 40 percent of the expenses, with the remaining 60 percent covered by Medicare, the Journal reports.

The justices ruled in 1975 that denying prisoners required medical treatment amounted to cruel and unusual punishment.

Pacheco was sentenced in June 2011 after pleading no contest to second-degree robbery, possession of stolen car parts and conspiracy.

Since 2006, he has also been sentenced multiple times on various drug-possession charges, including possession of and intent to deliver cocaine, the Journal reports.

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