Family: Sheriff's Office Wouldn't Let Dying Inmate Donate Organs

HOUSTON PRESS | Meagan Flynn
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Christopher Hendricks's family learned the details of his suicide through a Harris County Sheriff's Office press release.

On June 17, 37-year-old Hendricks hung himself in a shower inside the Harris County jail's medical detox tank, where, his sister says, he was likely placed because he suffered from alcoholism. According to the Harris County Sheriff's Office, Hendricks had no pulse when they found him, but medical personnel were able to restore his vitals. He was taken by ambulance to St. Joseph's Medical Center — where, almost immediately, doctors knew he would likely never wake up.

His family wouldn't find out what had happened to Hendricks until two days after he was taken to the hospital.

“That's probably the part that hurts the most,” said his sister, Tamara Moe.

What followed was what the family says were a succession of cold blows from the sheriff's office as they grappled with accepting they had lost their son and brother. First, when the family tried to find out more details about his suicide, they said inmate relations told them officials did not yet know the details and it was “under investigation” — only to send out those details for the world to see later that night. Then, Moe says, deputies guarding Hendricks's hospital room door mistakenly wouldn't allow her and her husband inside, only to later apologize. But it all culminated when, Moe claims, HCSO denied an organ donation group authorization to harvest Hendricks's organs because he was still technically an inmate in custody. Continue reading
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