• ABC on ChinaABC News | April 20, 2015

    [read the article]


    By Huey Fern Tay

    Medical workers ran into the hospital as soon as the helicopter landed in Zhengzhou, central-eastern China.

    The box they were carrying contained a liver and two kidneys that had been donated by a man in the same province.

    A surgeon emerged eight hours later to declare the liver transplant operation a success.

    The wife of the male recipient looked relieved as she thanked the mystery donor and his family for saving her husband's life.

    This touching account was covered by a satellite television channel run by the local province of Henan; one of many reports that have featured in the Chinese media over the past few months.

    Those involved in the campaign to promote organ donations speak excitedly about upcoming projects.

    "In future we may make some documentaries and movies," deputy director of the China Organ Administrative Centre Dr Gao Xinpu said...

  • The ScotsmanThe Scotsman | March 31, 2015

    [Read the article here]


     By Calum MacKellar

    According to the World Health Organisation, the international trafficking of organs is a growing problem with about 10,000 organs being bought and sold on the black market every year around the world. While there is a small market for hearts, lungs and other body parts, it is kidneys that represent the large majority of organs being trafficked since most people are born with two kidneys and it is possible to survive with only one.

    The countries in which organs are being bought from individuals are some of the most impoverished in South America, Africa and Asia, while recipient countries include the United States, Canada, Australia, the UK and Japan.

    Trafficking persons for organs involves a whole host of offenders including recruiters who identify potential organ providers, those who arrange transport to the hospitals, the clinical staff responsible for the surgery and the salesmen who organise the trade. Moreover, because of the involvement of so many national and international players, the trafficking is difficult to police...

  •  the daily beast

    The Daily Beast | April 4, 2015

    [read the article]


    By Bill Katsasos

    BEIRUT — Lebanon has long been known for unrepentant, sometimes shocking you-can-get-anything-you-want commercialism. But there is a business thriving here now that turns the stomach. As Syrian refugees have poured across the border—they now number 1.3 million in a country whose population previously was 4.5 million—human vultures have closed in on them.

    These war profiteers are looking for bits and pieces of people, a kidney here, a cornea there, which can be sold to desperate clients coming from as far away as Finland and Venezuela.
    Who are these middlemen? Their victims do not want to say. Where are the surgeries performed? Another closely guarded secret, and not only here in Lebanon.
    The United Nations Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking (UN.GIFT) defines the illicit trade in organs around the world as “an organized crime involving a host of offenders”...

  • Cambodia DailyThe Cambodia Daily | March 28, 2015

    [read the article]


    By Sek Odom

    The Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Friday sentenced a woman to 15 years in jail for convincing her two cousins and a neighbor to sell their kidneys in Thailand last year.

    Presiding Judge Keo Mony said 29-year-old Nhem Sinuon— who was arrested in Phnom Penh’s Chroy Changva district in July following a 10-day investigation after two of the victims filed complaints with police—was found guilty of illegally exporting human organs, illegal human trafficking and exploitation. 

    Police say Ms. Sinuon had been running a transplant-brokering ring for nearly a year by the time she was arrested, but details of how many such transactions she arranged remain elusive. Ms. Sinuon was found to have forged identification for the two victims so they could pretend to be related to the recipients of their kidneys, which is a requirement under Thai law...

  • Prague Daily MonitorPrague Daily Monitor | March 26, 2015
    [read the article]


    Santiago de Compostela (Spain), 25.03.2015 – Fourteen European states Wednesday signed the Council of Europe Convention against Trafficking in Human Organs, the first international treaty aimed at preventing and combating trafficking in human organs.

    The Convention was opened for signature on the first day of an international conference, organised by the Council of Europe and the Spanish government in Santiago de Compostela, to discuss how to better fight trafficking in human organs, and how to implement the new treaty.

    The convention was signed by Albania, Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, Norway, the Republic of Moldova, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Turkey and the United Kingdom. It is open for signature by any state in the world and will enter into force when five states have ratified it.

    “The illicit removal and trafficking of human organs is a serious human rights violation. Donors are often extremely vulnerable individuals exploited by organised crime, which takes advantage of the shortage of organs available for transplantation. International co-operation is essential to fight this crime. I call on states in Europe and beyond to swiftly sign and ratify the convention”, said Council of Europe Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland...

     

  • ITNSITNS | March 20, 2015


    Chicago, IL - The International Transplant Nurses Society (ITNS) has released a position statement on financial incentives for organ donation.

    ITNS endorses the recommendation of the World Health Assembly and the Declaration of Istanbul that financial incentives for living organ donation be prohibited, as they pose unacceptable risks to potential donors and vulnerable communities across the world, undermine efforts to promote equity in donation and transplantation, and may endanger the progress achieved through best practice in altruistic donation programs.

    ITNS endorses the World Health Assembly recommendation that financial incentives for authorization of organ procurement from deceased persons should be prohibited, recognizing that the next of kin may be vulnerable to harm including exploitation and coercion, and concerned that payment of incentives would undermine public trust in the process of deceased donation.

    ITNS further strongly supports the recommendation of the World Health Assembly, the Declaration of Istanbul and other professional organizations that greater efforts be made to remove financial disincentives to living donation, so as to improve supply of organs for transplantation and reduce inequities in access to living donation.

    ITNS rejects recent proposals for the trial of incentives for living donors, due to the fact that a number of evidence-based strategies of proven efficacy in increasing organ donation have yet to be implemented and should be prioritized, and that although trial risks may be reduced in a highly regulated environment, the legalization of trials in developed countries may exert a negative influence on policy and practice in countries with less capacity for effective regulation.

    “This statement communicates the Society's position on financial incentives for organ donation to our members, other healthcare organizations, patients, and the general public and provides guidance for ITNS members in their professional practice and advocacy work on behalf of patients” commented Sandra Cupples, PhD, RN, FAAN, ITNS Research Director.

    For a copy of the position statement, please visit http://www.itns.org/About/About/postitionstatements.html

     

  • Transplantation DirectRead the Open Letter courtesy of Transplantation Direct here.

    March 12, 2015

    American and international leaders in the field of organ donation and transplantation, as well as jurists, ethicists, anthropologists and public health experts have urged the US Secretary of Human Health and Services to support renewed efforts to promote organ donation.

    The signatories to this Open Letter call for the removal of obstacles to organ donation, in particular financial barriers to living donation. They advocate the appointment of a new Task Force on Organ Donation and Transplantation to help coordinate and oversee such efforts.

    The letter highlights the value and significance of the thirty year old National Organ Transplant Act in the United States, which prohibited trade in organs and provided a framework for the ethical procurement and distribution of human organs. It further emphasises the importance of sustained commitment by the international community to the World Health Organization's Guiding Principles.

    Read the Open Letter here.

  • ABC on ChinaABC News | April 20, 2015

    [read the article]


    By Huey Fern Tay

    Medical workers ran into the hospital as soon as the helicopter landed in Zhengzhou, central-eastern China.

    The box they were carrying contained a liver and two kidneys that had been donated by a man in the same province.

    A surgeon emerged eight hours later to declare the liver transplant operation a success.

    The wife of the male recipient looked relieved as she thanked the mystery donor and his family for saving her husband's life.

    This touching account was covered by a satellite television channel run by the local province of Henan; one of many reports that have featured in the Chinese media over the past few months.

    Those involved in the campaign to promote organ donations speak excitedly about upcoming projects.

    "In future we may make some documentaries and movies," deputy director of the China Organ Administrative Centre Dr Gao Xinpu said...

  • The ScotsmanThe Scotsman | March 31, 2015

    [Read the article here]


     By Calum MacKellar

    According to the World Health Organisation, the international trafficking of organs is a growing problem with about 10,000 organs being bought and sold on the black market every year around the world. While there is a small market for hearts, lungs and other body parts, it is kidneys that represent the large majority of organs being trafficked since most people are born with two kidneys and it is possible to survive with only one.

    The countries in which organs are being bought from individuals are some of the most impoverished in South America, Africa and Asia, while recipient countries include the United States, Canada, Australia, the UK and Japan.

    Trafficking persons for organs involves a whole host of offenders including recruiters who identify potential organ providers, those who arrange transport to the hospitals, the clinical staff responsible for the surgery and the salesmen who organise the trade. Moreover, because of the involvement of so many national and international players, the trafficking is difficult to police...

  •  the daily beast

    The Daily Beast | April 4, 2015

    [read the article]


    By Bill Katsasos

    BEIRUT — Lebanon has long been known for unrepentant, sometimes shocking you-can-get-anything-you-want commercialism. But there is a business thriving here now that turns the stomach. As Syrian refugees have poured across the border—they now number 1.3 million in a country whose population previously was 4.5 million—human vultures have closed in on them.

    These war profiteers are looking for bits and pieces of people, a kidney here, a cornea there, which can be sold to desperate clients coming from as far away as Finland and Venezuela.
    Who are these middlemen? Their victims do not want to say. Where are the surgeries performed? Another closely guarded secret, and not only here in Lebanon.
    The United Nations Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking (UN.GIFT) defines the illicit trade in organs around the world as “an organized crime involving a host of offenders”...

  • Cambodia DailyThe Cambodia Daily | March 28, 2015

    [read the article]


    By Sek Odom

    The Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Friday sentenced a woman to 15 years in jail for convincing her two cousins and a neighbor to sell their kidneys in Thailand last year.

    Presiding Judge Keo Mony said 29-year-old Nhem Sinuon— who was arrested in Phnom Penh’s Chroy Changva district in July following a 10-day investigation after two of the victims filed complaints with police—was found guilty of illegally exporting human organs, illegal human trafficking and exploitation. 

    Police say Ms. Sinuon had been running a transplant-brokering ring for nearly a year by the time she was arrested, but details of how many such transactions she arranged remain elusive. Ms. Sinuon was found to have forged identification for the two victims so they could pretend to be related to the recipients of their kidneys, which is a requirement under Thai law...

  • Prague Daily MonitorPrague Daily Monitor | March 26, 2015
    [read the article]


    Santiago de Compostela (Spain), 25.03.2015 – Fourteen European states Wednesday signed the Council of Europe Convention against Trafficking in Human Organs, the first international treaty aimed at preventing and combating trafficking in human organs.

    The Convention was opened for signature on the first day of an international conference, organised by the Council of Europe and the Spanish government in Santiago de Compostela, to discuss how to better fight trafficking in human organs, and how to implement the new treaty.

    The convention was signed by Albania, Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, Norway, the Republic of Moldova, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Turkey and the United Kingdom. It is open for signature by any state in the world and will enter into force when five states have ratified it.

    “The illicit removal and trafficking of human organs is a serious human rights violation. Donors are often extremely vulnerable individuals exploited by organised crime, which takes advantage of the shortage of organs available for transplantation. International co-operation is essential to fight this crime. I call on states in Europe and beyond to swiftly sign and ratify the convention”, said Council of Europe Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland...

     

  • ITNSITNS | March 20, 2015


    Chicago, IL - The International Transplant Nurses Society (ITNS) has released a position statement on financial incentives for organ donation.

    ITNS endorses the recommendation of the World Health Assembly and the Declaration of Istanbul that financial incentives for living organ donation be prohibited, as they pose unacceptable risks to potential donors and vulnerable communities across the world, undermine efforts to promote equity in donation and transplantation, and may endanger the progress achieved through best practice in altruistic donation programs.

    ITNS endorses the World Health Assembly recommendation that financial incentives for authorization of organ procurement from deceased persons should be prohibited, recognizing that the next of kin may be vulnerable to harm including exploitation and coercion, and concerned that payment of incentives would undermine public trust in the process of deceased donation.

    ITNS further strongly supports the recommendation of the World Health Assembly, the Declaration of Istanbul and other professional organizations that greater efforts be made to remove financial disincentives to living donation, so as to improve supply of organs for transplantation and reduce inequities in access to living donation.

    ITNS rejects recent proposals for the trial of incentives for living donors, due to the fact that a number of evidence-based strategies of proven efficacy in increasing organ donation have yet to be implemented and should be prioritized, and that although trial risks may be reduced in a highly regulated environment, the legalization of trials in developed countries may exert a negative influence on policy and practice in countries with less capacity for effective regulation.

    “This statement communicates the Society's position on financial incentives for organ donation to our members, other healthcare organizations, patients, and the general public and provides guidance for ITNS members in their professional practice and advocacy work on behalf of patients” commented Sandra Cupples, PhD, RN, FAAN, ITNS Research Director.

    For a copy of the position statement, please visit http://www.itns.org/About/About/postitionstatements.html

     

  • Transplantation DirectRead the Open Letter courtesy of Transplantation Direct here.

    March 12, 2015

    American and international leaders in the field of organ donation and transplantation, as well as jurists, ethicists, anthropologists and public health experts have urged the US Secretary of Human Health and Services to support renewed efforts to promote organ donation.

    The signatories to this Open Letter call for the removal of obstacles to organ donation, in particular financial barriers to living donation. They advocate the appointment of a new Task Force on Organ Donation and Transplantation to help coordinate and oversee such efforts.

    The letter highlights the value and significance of the thirty year old National Organ Transplant Act in the United States, which prohibited trade in organs and provided a framework for the ethical procurement and distribution of human organs. It further emphasises the importance of sustained commitment by the international community to the World Health Organization's Guiding Principles.

    Read the Open Letter here.

  • Cambodia DailyThe Cambodia Daily | March 10, 2015

    [Read the article here]


    By Ouch Sony

    A woman accused of organ trafficking was tried at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Monday for allegedly persuading her two cousins and a neighbor to sell their kidneys in Thailand last year.

    Anti-human trafficking police arrested Nhem Sinuon, 29, in Phnom Penh’s Chroy Changva district in July after a 10-day investigation following complaints from two of the alleged victims.

    Police said at the time of the arrest that Ms. Sinuon, who also goes by the name Azisah, had been operating a transplant-brokering ring for nearly a year, although they did not provide details on how many kidney sales she had brokered. She was charged with human trafficking and producing fake documents for the two victims so they could pretend to be related to the recipients of their kidneys—a requirement under Thai law...

     

     

  • EBAANZ logo

    Thursday 5th March, 2015

    EBAANZ Ratifies ANZs - first Bioethical Framework for Policy and Practice

    PERTH: Yesterday, Members of EBAANZ ratified Australia and New Zealand’s first regional Bioethics Framework concerning Human Tissue for Ocular Application, during their annual meeting held in conjunction with the Corneal Society, at the Perth Convention Centre.

    Inspired by the Declaration of Istanbul – which was developed to support ethical practice and policy in human organ transplantation internationally - and encouraged by the World Health Organization, EBAANZ members collaborated with corneal surgeons, policy advisers of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists, and obstetric representatives, to develop a framework relevant to the ANZ eye bank community and the wider eye care and donor communities. Dr Dominique Martin, bioethicist at the University of Melbourne’s Centre for Health Equity also collaborated on the project.

    “The Framework” says EBAANZ Acting-Chair, Dr Graeme Pollock, “focuses on 9 key strategies which are designed to guide care and professional conduct while completing donor consent, tissue preparation and tissue distribution aspects of our cornea, sclera and amnion tissue custodian service.

    “The Framework will support our professionals to work together to address tissue needs within our population and provide guidelines to surgeons and eye banks who are approached by colleagues from other countries for humanitarian support.

    "Our natural instinct is to always help others but we needed some guidelines for decisions about how and where we should help. It also meant that we were ensuring that the generous gifts of ANZ donors were being respected and that our priority remains the ANZ recipients....

     

    Read the complete media release at the Global Alliance of Eye Banking Associations website here.

    You can also download a copy of the framework here.

     

    Screen Shot 2015-03-05 at 12.59.07 PM

  • The HillThe Hill | February 27, 2015

    [read the article]


    By David Jonathan Cohen, MD

    In 1983, along with many other kidney doctors, I received an unsettling letter from a new organization established to set up a market in human kidneys.The International Kidney Exchange, Ltd, as the venture was known, offered a simple business model:  buying kidneys from live donors and selling them to people in need of transplants. 

    The negative response was immediate and overwhelming. Within a year, the National Organ Transplantation Act, sponsored by Rep. Al Gore Jr. (D-Tenn.) and Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), was enacted, outlawing organ donation in exchange for what was termed “valuable consideration.”

    Unfortunately, this idea hasn’t gone away, fueled by the shortage of kidneys and waiting lists that continue to grow. Last year alone, more than 35,000 people joined the US kidney transplant waiting list, and every day, 12 people died while waiting for kidneys. 

    Such statistics are behind a renewed campaign to legalize human organ sales in the United States, with support coming not from a rogue organization  but from respected transplant professionals, economists and ethicists who argue that it’s an idea whose time has come. 

    I beg to differ. Permitting organ donation in exchange for valuable consideration—whether money, health insurance, or some other cash equivalent—was a bad idea in 1983, and it’s a bad idea now...

    Read the complete article at The Hill here.

    Read more about the market debate on the Declaration of Istanbul website here.

  • La Nacion Costa RicaLa Nacion | February 15, 2015

    [leer el artículo en español/

    read in English via Google Translate]


    By Ángela Ávalos R

    Cinco hospitales fueron seleccionados por la CCSS para identificar potenciales donadores de órganos entre los pacientes que fallezcan, lo que podría salvar la vida de otros que esperan trasplantes.

    Los centros elegidos son Max Peralta (Cartago), Escalante Pradilla (Pérez Zeledón), San Rafael (Alajuela), San Vicente de Paúl (Heredia), y Enrique Baltodano (Liberia).

    No se descarta integrar a esa lista al Tony Facio (Limón) y al Monseñor Sanabria (Puntarenas), en el futuro cercano.

    La selección se basó en la capacidad que tienen esos cinco hospitales de diagnosticar y mantener un donante cadavérico, explicó el coordinador de trasplantes en la Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social (CCSS), Marvin Agüero Chinchilla.

    Estos centros cuentan con ventilador mecánico para conservar el cadáver oxigenado. También pueden diagnosticar la muerte cerebral, pues tienen neurólogo o neurocirujano. La estrategia, denominada hospital donante, es parte de la ejecución del modelo Red Nacional de Donación y Trasplantes, de la Caja.

     

    Five hospitals were selected by the CCSS to identify potential organ donors among patients who die, which could save the lives of others waiting for transplants. The selected centers are Max Peralta (Carthage), Escalante Pradilla (Perez Zeledon), San Rafael (Alajuela), San Vicente de Paul (Heredia), and Enrique Baltodano (Liberia). It is not excluded that Tony Facio (Limón) and Monsignor Sanabria (Puntarenas) will join that list in the near future.

    The selection was based on the ability of these five hospitals to diagnose and maintain a deceased donor, said the transplant coordinator at the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social (CCSS), Marvin Chinchilla Agüero.

    These centers have mechanical ventilators to keep the body oxygenated. They can also diagnose brain death, as they have a neurologist or neurosurgeon. The strategy, called donor hospital, is part of the implementation of the National Donation and Transplant Network model of the Fund...

Preventing Trafficking in Organs for Transplantation: An Important Facet of the Fight Against Human Trafficking

Screen Shot 2015-05-04 at 4.30.02 PM

 Journal of Human Trafficking, 2015; 1(1):56-64.


Alexander M. Capron and Francis L. Delmonico

Most countries now have national legislation that outlaws both human trafficking and organ trafficking. However, international conventions and domestic laws alone have not been enough to stop the trade in organs. As of 2007, a conservative estimate was that 5% of the approximately 100,000 organs transplanted annually were derived from exploiting the poorest and most vulnerable people in society; anti-trafficking efforts have since reduced, though not eliminated, this practice. The Declaration of Istanbul (DoI) was created in 2008 to engage medical professional societies to collaborate with governments and others in combating organ sales, transplant tourism, and trafficking in human organs. In 2010, the Declaration of Istanbul Custodian Group (DICG) was formed to actively promote and to monitor the implementation of the DoI principles. The removal of prohibitions on organ purchases, which is now being promoted in some wealthy nations, is unlikely to shorten transplant waitlists (because organ sales crowd out voluntary, unpaid donation) and would be based on the false view that such sales do not exploit the sellers. To combat such exploitation, the DICG advocates for ratification and enforcement of the new “Council of Europe Convention against Trafficking in Human Organs,” as a complement the Palermo Protocol to the United Nations organized crime convention that prohibits human trafficking for organ removal. To increase ethical organ donation by living related donors, the DICG encourages countries to adopt means to cover donors’ financial costs, which now discourage donation. It also works with the World Health Organization to encourage ministries of health to develop deceased donation to its maximum potential toward the goal of achieving national self-sufficiency in organ transplantation so that patients do not need to travel to foreign destinations to undergo organ transplantation using kidneys and partial livers purchased from poor and vulnerable people. Success in combating human trafficking for organ removal and organ trafficking will be greatly enhanced through organizations like the DICG forging strong relationships with human rights organizations.

To read the complete article, click here. (Subscription required.)

Organ procurement in China - DICG members share their personal perspectives

Hepatobiliary Surgery and Nutrition

2015, 4(2)

Members of the DICG have contributed commentaries on organ procurement policy in China in the most recent issue of the journal Hepatobiliary Surgery and Nutrition. These can be freely accessed courtesy of the journal via the links below:

Gabriel M. Danovitch and Francis L. Delmonico. 'China on the brink: there is hope for the end of their use of executed prisoner organs.'

Vivekanand Jha. 'Reforms in organ donation in China: still to be executed?'

Rudolf García-Gallont. 'Organ procurement from executed prisoners in China.'

Dominique E. Martin and Annika Tibell. 'Implementation of China's new policies on organ procurement: an important but challenging step forward.'

The main article referenced in these commentaries counts another DICG member among its authors:

A. Sharif, M. Fiatarone Singh, T. Trey, and J. Lavee. 'Organ procurement from executed prisoners in China.' American Journal of Transplantation. 2014, 14(10): 2246-52.

This is also freely available courtesy of AJT.

 

Living and Deceased Organ Donation Should Be Financially Neutral Acts

FL Delmonico, D Martin, B Domínguez-Gil, E Muller, V Jha, A Levin, GM Danovitch, and AM Capron


AJT logo

2015; Epub March 31

The supply of organs—particularly kidneys—donated by living and deceased donors falls short of the number of patients added annually to transplant waiting lists in the United States. To remedy this problem, a number of prominent physicians, ethicists, economists and others have mounted a campaign to suspend the prohibitions in the National Organ Transplant Act of 1984 (NOTA) on the buying and selling of organs. The argument that providing financial benefits would incentivize enough people to part with a kidney (or a portion of a liver) to clear the waiting lists is flawed. This commentary marshals arguments against the claim that the shortage of donor organs would best be overcome by providing financial incentives for donation. We can increase the number of organs available for transplantation by removing all financial disincentives that deter unpaid living or deceased kidney donation. These disincentives include a range of burdens, such as the costs of travel and lodging for medical evaluation and surgery, lost wages, and the expense of dependent care during the period of organ removal and recuperation. Organ donation should remain an act that is financially neutral for donors, neither imposing financial burdens nor enriching them monetarily.

Read the complete article here at the American Journal of Transplantation(subscription required).

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