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Scott Sisters Freed to Receive Kidney Transplant

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By Jason Beahm on January 10, 2011 6:15 AM

Talk about a strange set of circumstances. Two sisters who are serving life sentences have had the sentences suspended so that one can donate a kidney to the other. They had served 16 years for armed robbery. The case itself was strange as well. The Scott sisters were convicted in 1994 of an armed robbery on Christmas Eve. The robbery netted between $11 and $200, but landed them a stiff sentence.

"We're free! ... God bless y'all!" Jamie and Gladys Scott yelled to reporters as they left the Central Mississippi Correctional Facility.

Now the Scott sisters have a new mission, they have to make sure they are a compatible match and find a way to pay for the transplant. They will try to get government-funded Medicaid insurance to pay for the transplant and dialysis, their attorney Chokwe Lumumba said. The dialysis alone of 36-year-old Jamie Scott has cost the state $200,000 a year.

It's a strange release situation. According to Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, Jamie Scott can be released because of her medical condition, but only if 38-year-old Gladys Scott donates her kidney within one year. However it is questionable as to whether such a requirement is enforceable, or whether the Governor would even seek to enforce it should the Scott sisters be unable to complete the transplant.

"All of the 'What if' questions are, at this point, purely hypothetical. We'll deal with those situations if they actually happen," Gov. Scott said. The agreement could be interpreted as trading an organ for freedom, possibly violating federal laws against selling organs, said Arthur Caplan, director of the Center for Bioethics at the University of Pennsylvania, the Associated Press reported.

By now, even their former victims are ready for the Scotts to be released. "I think it's all right as long as they've been there," Mitchell Duckworth told the AP.

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