Inmate wants out to donate a kidney
The judge doesn't rule it out, but won't let the man out on bail for his blood tests.
By COLLEEN JENKINS
Published March 11, 2006
A 35-year-old woman in Georgia needs a kidney.
Both of hers failed suddenly five months ago. She had to go on dialysis.
She has only one sibling, a sister who lives on Green Key Road in New Port Richey. But the Pasco woman has diabetes, and doctors won't consider her as a donor.
The ailing woman's best hope is her 20-year-old nephew, the son of the Pasco County woman. He's a young man not tall in stature but physically strong after years of running around football fields and basketball courts at Ridgewood High.
He is willing to donate one of his kidneys to the woman he considers as much a mother as his own.
But his current address - 20101 Central Blvd. - could make that more difficult than the surgery itself. That is the address of the county jail in Land O'Lakes, where Ponds has lived since his arrest last summer.
Crying, sniffling and handcuffed, the former Florida A&M student asked a judge Friday to allow him to be tested as a potential organ donor.
"I just want to be there," he said, "for my aunt."
Circuit Judge Stanley Mills didn't rule out the possibility. But he did not let Ponds out on bail for blood tests either. He said he couldn't take that kind of chance on a guy facing life in prison for his alleged role in a double shooting at a Hudson motel last June. Ponds awaits trial on charges of murder and attempted murder.
Mills said Ponds needed to take up his request with the sheriff, who oversees the jail.
The Florida Department of Corrections and the Pasco County jail don't have specific policies on allowing inmates to donate organs, officials said.
Ponds can request to have blood tests performed at the jail, Pasco County Sheriff's spokesman Doug Tobin said Friday. But if he proves a suitable match, he'll likely need to seek another bail hearing with the judge, Tobin said.
"The cost of protection (for off-site surgery) would be significant," Tobin said. "That would be a liability that we would not want to expose the public to."
Tobin also raised the concern of who would pay for medical care if any postsurgery complications arose once Ponds returned to jail.
Similar concerns have kept corrections facilities in other states from allowing inmates to get involved with organ donations. In Kentucky, an inmate released temporarily in January to be tested as a kidney donor for his teenage son never returned.
Ponds' mother, Lorie Ponds, said her son's motives are pure. He is the only relative able and willing to donate a kidney to her younger sister, who also is on a transplant waiting list.
"We need to have him tested as quickly as possible," she told Mills. Her sister's medical insurance would cover the costs, she said.
Her son's help might prevent at least one family tragedy.
[Last modified March 11, 2006, 01:44:05]
[an error occurred while processing this directive]