In an ironic turn of events, a convicted double murderer and rapist saved the lives of others with his organs. The mother of Keith Luke, Dara Luke, donated her son's organs after he committed suicide while in jail, according to The Enterprise. The self-proclaimed Massachusetts neo-Nazi, 28, was sentenced to two consecutive life sentences last May after confessing to the rape and double murder he committed in 2009.
Several patients waiting for transplants received his organs, according to sources from The Enterprise, but they are not allowed to speak about the matter publicly. It’s also unclear how many and which organs were donated.
This is not the first time that Luke attempted suicide. Last year, he tried three times and then decided to carve a swastika on his forehead before attending court. Luke had been serving the two consecutive life sentences for the racially-motivated murders of Selma Goncalves, 20, and Arlindo Goncalves, 72, of Cape Verdean descent — both of whom are not related. Luke shot Selma when she walked in on her sister's rape and attempted to run for help; the woman was not identified. After he drove off, he shot at Arlindo, a homeless man he spotted in the street, The Huffington Post reported.
Organ donation is a tough situation to muddle through, and besides all of the physiological concerns that can arise, personality is another one, too. People are less inclined to want a “bad” donor.
"One more organ donor means at least one life, and typically more lives, saved," according to Dr. Shu S. Lin, a surgeon at the Duke Pulmonary Transplant Clinic in Durham, N.C. He published a manuscript in the National Institutes of Health regarding death row inmates donating their organs.
In other words, Luke’s organs would greatly benefit these patients despite the controversy surrounding donation and who he was.
However, some argue that recipients of organ donations start emulating the traits of their donors, which is why personality is sometimes a factor for patients. According to a study in 2013, researchers found that people are less inclined to receive an organ from a person who is different from them. The study also found that the desire to get a donation from a similar person is the most commonly sought after trait. Getting a donation from a “good” person was also fine, too.
“The center of attention, in my mind, should be the patient, and how we, as healthcare providers, can help them,” Dr. Lin argued. “There is no question that, when there is a therapy (i.e., transplantation in this discussion) with known benefits to the patients that we serve, everyone would agree that we should attempt to implement that therapy pending the risks or the drawbacks of that therapy.”
Still, many people might be apprehensive in having a convicted murderer's organ in their body. And while it’s not proven if cells can carry personality traits, some scientists argue it doesn’t mean the theory is not true.