Female inmate released for heart transplant

January 20, 2011 2:27:27 PM PST
By all accounts, Diane McCloud is a career criminal who now has a new chance to live.

"I say thank you, and I'm happy they let her go. They showed compassion," said Carolyn McCloud, Diane's sister.

They showed compassion, for a 47-year-old woman with a history of theft, most recently, from a Target in Westbury.

She was six months into a 15 month sentence, when her heart started to fail.

Doctors determined her condition is very grave.

"This woman will be dead in six months if she doesn't get a new heart," her doctor said.

In Nassau County, taxpayers won't foot the bill for an inmate to undergo transplant surgery.

So, McCloud's lawyer, Leonard Isaacs, convinced the DA's office and a judge to let her go.

The judge commended prosecutors for their compassion.

Just minutes later, paramedics wheeled McCloud out of the courthouse and into a waiting ambulance.

She's now free to seek the medical help she needs.

"Everybody came together in this case to help somebody try to stay alive. It's very basic," Isaacs said.

She may have been released on her own recognizance officially, but it isn't as if McCloud can enjoy her freedom.

She'll be attached to a hospital bed at Nassau University Medical Center, where she'll hope to receive her heart transplant.

If she does recover, it's possible she'll return to jail, to complete her sentence.

Do you have something to add to this story? Click here to contact Eyewitness News.