• ViceVice | December 12, 2014

    [read the article]


    By Sonja Sharp

    It's a shocking image, one meant to jar sleepy subway commuters on their morning ride: Amid the sneakers and stilettos of urban partygoers stands a pair of bare feet, wearing the toe-tag of a corpse.

    Every 15 hours, a New Yorker dies waiting for an organ, the tagline reads. Become an organ donor.

    What the ad doesn't say and most donors don't know is that a growing number of the state's deceased donor organs aren't going to New Yorkers at all, but to Saudi sheikhs and other mega-wealthy 1 percenters with no ties to the United States. They actually take holidays here for the sole purpose of obtaining the organs.

    Sound illegal? It's not.

    The same 1984 la​w that prohibits you from selling your kidney or a nub of your liver while you're alive enshrines the right of wealthy foreigners to receive them once you're dead. So long as recipients pay full price for the procedure and wait on the same list as everyone else, they can procure a liver, kidney, heart, lung, pancreas, or length of intestine at a top-flight transplant center in their pick of major American cities where hund​reds of loca​l​s will die waiting for those same organs each year.

    "Originally, it was no big deal, because there was no great shortage of organs," explained Doctor Gabriel Danovitch, a former committee member of the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), the nonprofit that manages the country's deceased donor organs under contract with the Health Resources and Services Administration (HSRA)...

     For more information about this issue click here.

  • Al MonitorAl Monitor | December 5, 2014

    [read the article]


    The success of the Islamic State (IS) in sustaining its battles on more than one front in both Syria and Iraq, while fighting in several other countries, highlights that the group has multiple and significant sources of funding.

    According to data, there are two funding sources: internal and external. The latter includes a wide variety of funding schemes, including through medical facilities, oil and human trafficking mafias. According to sources in Mosul, the money supplied internally is allocated to local and foreign fighters, to encourage them to join up and continue fighting. IS took control of Mosul in June and then expanded in August to control large swaths of the country.

    Residents of Mosul say that the sale of oil extracted from wells controlled by the organization in both Iraq and Syria has provided a sustained source of funding. The organization also opened trade canals through Kurdish [territories in] Iraq and Turkey, with the help of Kurdish, Turkish and Iranian traders.

    In addition to oil sales, a secondary source of funding stems from the imposition of royalties on residents in IS territories. Members of the organization collect 50,000 dinars [$41.60] from each family as service and protection fees. The amount doubles for families whose sons did not join IS. One of the prominent tribal figures in Nineveh province, Sheikh Mohammad Abu Thayyab, said, “The IS gangs imposed 50,000 dinars worth of royalties on every family if one of their sons did not join these terrorists.”

    Sources in the city say that oil prices have skyrocketed. The price of gas tanks used for cooking has reached 75,000 dinars, [about $62] while coal oil is sold at 5,000 dinars a liter [$4.16]. Meanwhile, the price of food has quadrupled.

    The third funding source was exposed by otolaryngologist Siruwan al-Mosuli. He said that lately he noticed unusual movement within medical facilities in Mosul. Arab and foreign surgeons were hired, but prohibited from mixing with local doctors. Information then leaked about organ selling. Surgeries take place within a hospital and organs are quickly transported through networks specialized in trafficking human organs. Mosuli said that the organs come from fallen fighters who were quickly transported to the hospital, injured people who were abandoned or individuals who were kidnapped.

    He said that organ sales yield large profits. A specialized mafia is engaged in these operations, in addition to medical institutions working in other countries. Without coordination among these parties, such a trade cannot be sustained, he said. According to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the organization sells bodies and organs of injured people they arrest...

     
  • Strait Times Dec 14The Straits Times | December 14, 2014
    [read the article]


    By Rachel Chang

    BEIJING - Madam Chen Xiu's kidneys have been failing for 12 years.

    While the 52-year-old former gynaecologist's life is now dominated by thrice-weekly dialysis sessions that cost 800 yuan (S$170) each time, she refuses to have her husband or her three children - aged 14, 15 and 24 - donate their kidneys to her.

    "She thinks that our health will suffer and she won't allow it," said eldest daughter Chen Lili, an administrative assistant in Shaanxi province where the family lives. "So we just keep waiting for a kidney to come from somewhere."

    Such a mindset is at the root of a longstanding organ shortage in China, where about 300,000 patients are in need of organs every year, but only 10,000 transplants are carried out.

    The dire state of affairs is about to get much worse. About a week ago, China announced it will stop its controversial practice of transplanting organs from executed prisoners from Jan 1 next year. This came after years of procrastination...

    Read the complete article here.

    Read the DICG statement commenting on news of the policy change in China here.

  • Screen Shot 2014-12-14 at 1.54.49 pm

    Media reports announcing an end to the use of organs from executed prisoners in China are misleading

    December 13, 2014

    Evidently relying upon statements made during a plenum of the Chinese State Council in October 2014, international media have reported that the Chinese government has promised that organs for transplantation will no longer be obtained from executed prisoners as of January 1, 2015.1,2 The Declaration of Istanbul Custodian Group (DICG) welcomes this announcement and applauds the leadership of Chinese colleagues to accomplish this objective, but for several reasons remains skeptical about the promised timeline.

    First, the announcement was not accompanied by formal assurance that the Hangzhou Resolution, developed by Chinese transplant professionals and government officials in 2013, is indeed being implemented.3 The objectives of the Hangzhou Resolution include:

    • establishing credentials for Chinese transplant professionals,
    • banning the sale or purchase of human organs,
    • preventing organ trafficking and transplant tourism, and
    • treating transplantable organs as a national resource for Chinese patients...

    Read the complete statement here.

  • Pakistan tribuneThe Express Tribune | Dec 10, 2014
    [read the article]


    By Ishrat Ansari

    KARACHI: The recent case of human trafficking for illegal organ transplant worries Dr Adeeb Rizvi, who fears this trade will thrive unless the culprits are punished.

    “The government needs to charge those two men arrested from Jinnah International Airport,” said the SIUT founding director at a press briefing organised by the Transplantation Society of Pakistan (TSP) in collaboration with Sindh Human Organ and Tissue Transplantation Authority (Hota) at the Sindh Institute of Urology and Transplantation (SIUT) on Wednesday.

    A couple of decades ago, Pakistan was the largest market for the trafficking of human organs in the world, Dr Rizvi pointed out. The selling and buying of human organs is against Islam and is also illegal, he added.

    For their part, the monitoring committee of the transplantation society has requested the health secretary, Iqbal Hussain Durrani, to file a complaint against the two men, Rizwan Ahmed and Sarfaraz Bhatti, who were caught on their way to Mauritius via Dubai. They were planning to go to India through this route for an illegal kidney transplant...

  • Iran Al MonitorAl-Monitor | October 10, 2014
    [read the article]


    By Mehrnaz Samimi

    Over 25,000 Iranian patients are on the waiting list for receiving an organ, according to the latest statistics that Iran’s Ministry of Health has announced. Official statistics show that every day, seven to 10 patients on this list die in dire need of an organ transplant.

    The administration has increased its efforts to inform and educate people to willingly become donors, which is why the donor card system was created. A section that has also been added to driver’s licenses in Iran that indicates the license holder’s decision to donate his/her organs.

    “Starting on Sept. 21, 2014, no more organ transplant operations will be performed on non-Iranians,” Iranian officials announced in September.

    The major reason this decision was made, according to the Ministry of Health, was that the number of foreign citizens who have undergone organ transplant surgery in Iran — 608 legally documented over the past 10 years — was already high, considering the number of Iranian patients in critical condition...



  • Pakistan The NewsThe News| November 22, 2014
    [read the article]


    By Salis bin Perwaiz

    Karachi  - Two people allegedly involved in illegal organ trafficking were apprehended at the Karachi airport by the personnel of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) when they tried to board a flight to Mauritius on Friday morning.

    The suspects include a carrier and his subject who had agreed to sell his kidney for Rs500,000, said FIA Sindh Director Shahid Hayat.

    He said the FIA’s immigration staff at the Jinnah International Airport Karachi had been instructed to keep a check on the documents of passengers travelling abroad to be able to catch suspects wanted by the agency’s Anti-Human Trafficking Circle.

    The immigration staff grew suspicious about two passengers whose documents had been arranged by an agent. Both held Pakistani passports bearing a visit visa for Mauritius and a medical visa for India.

    The immigration officials asked Sarfaraz Bhatti and Rizwan Ahmed about why they were travelling to Mauritius but they failed to give a satisfactory reply. When probed further, Bhatti disclosed that Ahmed was taking him to Mauritius, via Dubai, and then to India for kidney transplantation of an Indian lady who lived in Mauritius...

     

  • ViceVice | December 12, 2014

    [read the article]


    By Sonja Sharp

    It's a shocking image, one meant to jar sleepy subway commuters on their morning ride: Amid the sneakers and stilettos of urban partygoers stands a pair of bare feet, wearing the toe-tag of a corpse.

    Every 15 hours, a New Yorker dies waiting for an organ, the tagline reads. Become an organ donor.

    What the ad doesn't say and most donors don't know is that a growing number of the state's deceased donor organs aren't going to New Yorkers at all, but to Saudi sheikhs and other mega-wealthy 1 percenters with no ties to the United States. They actually take holidays here for the sole purpose of obtaining the organs.

    Sound illegal? It's not.

    The same 1984 la​w that prohibits you from selling your kidney or a nub of your liver while you're alive enshrines the right of wealthy foreigners to receive them once you're dead. So long as recipients pay full price for the procedure and wait on the same list as everyone else, they can procure a liver, kidney, heart, lung, pancreas, or length of intestine at a top-flight transplant center in their pick of major American cities where hund​reds of loca​l​s will die waiting for those same organs each year.

    "Originally, it was no big deal, because there was no great shortage of organs," explained Doctor Gabriel Danovitch, a former committee member of the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), the nonprofit that manages the country's deceased donor organs under contract with the Health Resources and Services Administration (HSRA)...

     For more information about this issue click here.

  • Al MonitorAl Monitor | December 5, 2014

    [read the article]


    The success of the Islamic State (IS) in sustaining its battles on more than one front in both Syria and Iraq, while fighting in several other countries, highlights that the group has multiple and significant sources of funding.

    According to data, there are two funding sources: internal and external. The latter includes a wide variety of funding schemes, including through medical facilities, oil and human trafficking mafias. According to sources in Mosul, the money supplied internally is allocated to local and foreign fighters, to encourage them to join up and continue fighting. IS took control of Mosul in June and then expanded in August to control large swaths of the country.

    Residents of Mosul say that the sale of oil extracted from wells controlled by the organization in both Iraq and Syria has provided a sustained source of funding. The organization also opened trade canals through Kurdish [territories in] Iraq and Turkey, with the help of Kurdish, Turkish and Iranian traders.

    In addition to oil sales, a secondary source of funding stems from the imposition of royalties on residents in IS territories. Members of the organization collect 50,000 dinars [$41.60] from each family as service and protection fees. The amount doubles for families whose sons did not join IS. One of the prominent tribal figures in Nineveh province, Sheikh Mohammad Abu Thayyab, said, “The IS gangs imposed 50,000 dinars worth of royalties on every family if one of their sons did not join these terrorists.”

    Sources in the city say that oil prices have skyrocketed. The price of gas tanks used for cooking has reached 75,000 dinars, [about $62] while coal oil is sold at 5,000 dinars a liter [$4.16]. Meanwhile, the price of food has quadrupled.

    The third funding source was exposed by otolaryngologist Siruwan al-Mosuli. He said that lately he noticed unusual movement within medical facilities in Mosul. Arab and foreign surgeons were hired, but prohibited from mixing with local doctors. Information then leaked about organ selling. Surgeries take place within a hospital and organs are quickly transported through networks specialized in trafficking human organs. Mosuli said that the organs come from fallen fighters who were quickly transported to the hospital, injured people who were abandoned or individuals who were kidnapped.

    He said that organ sales yield large profits. A specialized mafia is engaged in these operations, in addition to medical institutions working in other countries. Without coordination among these parties, such a trade cannot be sustained, he said. According to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the organization sells bodies and organs of injured people they arrest...

     
  • Strait Times Dec 14The Straits Times | December 14, 2014
    [read the article]


    By Rachel Chang

    BEIJING - Madam Chen Xiu's kidneys have been failing for 12 years.

    While the 52-year-old former gynaecologist's life is now dominated by thrice-weekly dialysis sessions that cost 800 yuan (S$170) each time, she refuses to have her husband or her three children - aged 14, 15 and 24 - donate their kidneys to her.

    "She thinks that our health will suffer and she won't allow it," said eldest daughter Chen Lili, an administrative assistant in Shaanxi province where the family lives. "So we just keep waiting for a kidney to come from somewhere."

    Such a mindset is at the root of a longstanding organ shortage in China, where about 300,000 patients are in need of organs every year, but only 10,000 transplants are carried out.

    The dire state of affairs is about to get much worse. About a week ago, China announced it will stop its controversial practice of transplanting organs from executed prisoners from Jan 1 next year. This came after years of procrastination...

    Read the complete article here.

    Read the DICG statement commenting on news of the policy change in China here.

  • Screen Shot 2014-12-14 at 1.54.49 pm

    Media reports announcing an end to the use of organs from executed prisoners in China are misleading

    December 13, 2014

    Evidently relying upon statements made during a plenum of the Chinese State Council in October 2014, international media have reported that the Chinese government has promised that organs for transplantation will no longer be obtained from executed prisoners as of January 1, 2015.1,2 The Declaration of Istanbul Custodian Group (DICG) welcomes this announcement and applauds the leadership of Chinese colleagues to accomplish this objective, but for several reasons remains skeptical about the promised timeline.

    First, the announcement was not accompanied by formal assurance that the Hangzhou Resolution, developed by Chinese transplant professionals and government officials in 2013, is indeed being implemented.3 The objectives of the Hangzhou Resolution include:

    • establishing credentials for Chinese transplant professionals,
    • banning the sale or purchase of human organs,
    • preventing organ trafficking and transplant tourism, and
    • treating transplantable organs as a national resource for Chinese patients...

    Read the complete statement here.

  • Pakistan tribuneThe Express Tribune | Dec 10, 2014
    [read the article]


    By Ishrat Ansari

    KARACHI: The recent case of human trafficking for illegal organ transplant worries Dr Adeeb Rizvi, who fears this trade will thrive unless the culprits are punished.

    “The government needs to charge those two men arrested from Jinnah International Airport,” said the SIUT founding director at a press briefing organised by the Transplantation Society of Pakistan (TSP) in collaboration with Sindh Human Organ and Tissue Transplantation Authority (Hota) at the Sindh Institute of Urology and Transplantation (SIUT) on Wednesday.

    A couple of decades ago, Pakistan was the largest market for the trafficking of human organs in the world, Dr Rizvi pointed out. The selling and buying of human organs is against Islam and is also illegal, he added.

    For their part, the monitoring committee of the transplantation society has requested the health secretary, Iqbal Hussain Durrani, to file a complaint against the two men, Rizwan Ahmed and Sarfaraz Bhatti, who were caught on their way to Mauritius via Dubai. They were planning to go to India through this route for an illegal kidney transplant...

  • Iran Al MonitorAl-Monitor | October 10, 2014
    [read the article]


    By Mehrnaz Samimi

    Over 25,000 Iranian patients are on the waiting list for receiving an organ, according to the latest statistics that Iran’s Ministry of Health has announced. Official statistics show that every day, seven to 10 patients on this list die in dire need of an organ transplant.

    The administration has increased its efforts to inform and educate people to willingly become donors, which is why the donor card system was created. A section that has also been added to driver’s licenses in Iran that indicates the license holder’s decision to donate his/her organs.

    “Starting on Sept. 21, 2014, no more organ transplant operations will be performed on non-Iranians,” Iranian officials announced in September.

    The major reason this decision was made, according to the Ministry of Health, was that the number of foreign citizens who have undergone organ transplant surgery in Iran — 608 legally documented over the past 10 years — was already high, considering the number of Iranian patients in critical condition...



  • Pakistan The NewsThe News| November 22, 2014
    [read the article]


    By Salis bin Perwaiz

    Karachi  - Two people allegedly involved in illegal organ trafficking were apprehended at the Karachi airport by the personnel of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) when they tried to board a flight to Mauritius on Friday morning.

    The suspects include a carrier and his subject who had agreed to sell his kidney for Rs500,000, said FIA Sindh Director Shahid Hayat.

    He said the FIA’s immigration staff at the Jinnah International Airport Karachi had been instructed to keep a check on the documents of passengers travelling abroad to be able to catch suspects wanted by the agency’s Anti-Human Trafficking Circle.

    The immigration staff grew suspicious about two passengers whose documents had been arranged by an agent. Both held Pakistani passports bearing a visit visa for Mauritius and a medical visa for India.

    The immigration officials asked Sarfaraz Bhatti and Rizwan Ahmed about why they were travelling to Mauritius but they failed to give a satisfactory reply. When probed further, Bhatti disclosed that Ahmed was taking him to Mauritius, via Dubai, and then to India for kidney transplantation of an Indian lady who lived in Mauritius...

     

  • Nepal AAPABC News | Nov 14, 2014
    [read the article]


    By BINAJ GURUBACHARYA

    HOKSHE, Nepal - Under crushing financial strain, Kumar Budathoki sold one of his kidneys to organ traffickers for $5,000, a sum he hoped would help set him up for a lifetime free of money problems.

    Instead, he got a lifetime of health problems — and only a fraction of the money promised to him by a shady broker in Hokshe, a village of tiny farms and mud huts that has been the center of the illegal organ trade in Nepal for more than a decade.

    Only about 4,000 people live here, yet at least 121 of them have sold their kidneys, said Krishna Pyari Nakarmi, who has been leading the campaign against the kidney trade in Hokshe. Those are only the cases she has been able to document, and she believes the number could be much higher. The scars are easily hidden under a shirt, and many villagers have moved away — possibly after going through the surgery.

    Despite a recent clampdown on the trade, authorities warn that the promise of easy money could easily erase any gains made against the organ traffickers. And villagers who already sold their kidneys continue to suffer the health consequences...

  • Bangkok Post OctBangkok Post | November 10, 2014

    [read the article]


    By Paritta Wangkiat

    The Thai medical regulator has found no involvement by Thai doctors in any cross-border organ trafficking. That's despite recent reports about organ-donor rackets in Cambodia in which Thai hospitals carried out the transplants.

    Cross-border organ trafficking came to light in July when the Cambodia Daily reported that Yem Azisah, a 29-year-old Cambodian woman, was arrested along with her stepfather, Nhem Phalla, 40, who is accused of helping her acquire fake identities for kidney donors.

    The Cambodian donors need the papers to prove they are relatives of would-be recipients. This step is required by Thai doctors before transplant surgery can take place.

    One of the donors, who is poor and desperately needed money, was persuaded to sell his kidney for about 325,000 baht and was taken to a Bangkok-based private hospital to have his kidney removed, the report said.

    The two have been charged with human trafficking and fraud. Last month, the AFP news agency quoted Phnom Penh's deputy police chief Prum Sonthor as saying at least two other Cambodian donors were taken to Thailand for transplant surgery. The report raised fears about a rise in trafficking as part of Thailand's booming medical tourism industry...

  • UAEThe National | November 2, 2014
    [read the article]


    By

    ABU DHABI.  Emiratis are travelling abroad for illegal kidney transplants, putting their lives and others’ at risk.

    Dr Ammar Abdulbaki, lead transplant physician at Sheikh Khalifa Medical City (SKMC) in Abu Dhabi, said it was common belief among the public “that it’s OK to take an organ from other people, but not from my family”.

    He insisted, however, that kidney donation was a safe procedure with no significant risk when a healthy donor was involved and the operation was conducted in sterile conditions.

    Most patients who travel from the UAE go to Egypt or China. Some claim the trips are funded by private organisations or other benefactors. All say they would pay for a kidney and risk the lives of strangers rather than that of their own families since they have the option.

    The selling of organs is illegal worldwide. UAE law requires that organ donors must be relatives of the patient...

    Click here to read an editorial in The National on this article, 'An alternative to the risks of transplant tourism'

     

  • Bangkok Post OctBangkok Post | October 27, 2014

    [read the article]


    PHNOM PENH - The seven-inch scar runs diagonally across the left flank of his skinny torso, a glaring reminder of an operation he hoped would save his family from debt but instead plunged him into shame.

    Chhay, 18, sold his kidney for $3,000 in an illicit deal that saw him whisked from a rickety one-room house on the outskirts of the Cambodian capital Phnom Penh to a gleaming hospital in the medical tourism hub of neighbouring Thailand.

    His shadowy journey, which went unnoticed by authorities two years ago, has instigated Cambodia's first-ever cases of organ trafficking and the arrests of two alleged brokers.

    It has also raised fears that other victims hide beneath the radar...

Media reports announcing an end to the use of organs from executed prisoners in China are misleading

Screen Shot 2014-12-14 at 1.54.49 pm

Media reports announcing an end to the use of organs from executed prisoners in China are misleading

December 13, 2014

Evidently relying upon statements made during a plenum of the Chinese State Council in October 2014, international media have reported that the Chinese government has promised that organs for transplantation will no longer be obtained from executed prisoners as of January 1, 2015.1,2 The Declaration of Istanbul Custodian Group (DICG) welcomes this announcement and applauds the leadership of Chinese colleagues to accomplish this objective, but for several reasons remains skeptical about the promised timeline.

First, the announcement was not accompanied by formal assurance that the Hangzhou Resolution, developed by Chinese transplant professionals and government officials in 2013, is indeed being implemented.3 The objectives of the Hangzhou Resolution include:

  • establishing credentials for Chinese transplant professionals,
  • banning the sale or purchase of human organs,
  • preventing organ trafficking and transplant tourism, and
  • treating transplantable organs as a national resource for Chinese patients...

Read the complete statement here.

Human trafficking: Trade of human organs will thrive unless culprits are punished: Dr Rizvi

Pakistan tribuneThe Express Tribune | Dec 10, 2014
[read the article]


By Ishrat Ansari

KARACHI: The recent case of human trafficking for illegal organ transplant worries Dr Adeeb Rizvi, who fears this trade will thrive unless the culprits are punished.

“The government needs to charge those two men arrested from Jinnah International Airport,” said the SIUT founding director at a press briefing organised by the Transplantation Society of Pakistan (TSP) in collaboration with Sindh Human Organ and Tissue Transplantation Authority (Hota) at the Sindh Institute of Urology and Transplantation (SIUT) on Wednesday.

A couple of decades ago, Pakistan was the largest market for the trafficking of human organs in the world, Dr Rizvi pointed out. The selling and buying of human organs is against Islam and is also illegal, he added.

For their part, the monitoring committee of the transplantation society has requested the health secretary, Iqbal Hussain Durrani, to file a complaint against the two men, Rizwan Ahmed and Sarfaraz Bhatti, who were caught on their way to Mauritius via Dubai. They were planning to go to India through this route for an illegal kidney transplant...

Should we perform kidney transplants on foreign nationals?


Marie-Chantal Fortin, Bryn Williams-Jones

Journal of Medical Ethics, 2014, 40(12):821-6

In Canada, there are currently no guidelines at either the federal or provincial level regarding the provision of kidney transplantation services to foreign nationals (FN). Renal transplant centres have, in the past, agreed to put refugee claimants and other FNs on the renal transplant waiting list, in part, because these patients (refugee claimants) had health insurance through the Interim Federal Health Programme to cover the costs of medication and hospital care. However, severe cuts recently made to this programme have forced clinicians to question whether they should continue with transplants for FNs, for financial and ethical reasons.
This paper first examines different national policies (eg, in Canada, USA, France and the UK) to map the diversity of approaches regarding transplantation for FNs, and then works through different considerations commonly used to support or oppose the provision of organs to these patients: (1) the organ shortage; (2) the free-rider problem; (3) the risk of becoming a transplant destination; (4) the impact on organ donation rates; (5) physicians’ duties; (6) economic concerns; (7) vulnerability. Using a Canadian case as a focus, and generalising through a review of various national policies, we analyse the arguments for and against transplantation for FNs with a view to bringing clarity to what is a sensitive political and clinical management issue. Our aim is to help transplant centres, clinicians and ethicists reflect on the merits of possible options, and the rationales behind them.

Read the full article at the Journal of Medical Ethics here (subscription required).

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