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A Kick in the Kidneys

American LawyerThe American Lawyer | July 27, 2015

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By Michael D. Goldhaber

It's been called "the most brazen case of Jersey-style corruption—ever." The "Jersey Sting" of 2009 netted five money-laundering rabbis, the mayors of Hoboken and Secaucus, and a former burlesque star named Hope Diamond who had become deputy mayor of Jersey City. But easily the most colorful figure was an ultra-Orthodox kibitzer and self-confessed schmearer named Levy Izhak Rosenbaum. For a decade Rosenbaum hawked Israeli kidneys with impunity at American medical establishments from Einstein Medical Center to Johns Hopkins Hospital.

As the first and only use of the National Organ Transplantation Act, Rosenbaum's prosecution and 2011 guilty plea drew attention to a shadowy trade that, according to the nonprofit Organs Watch, rips 10,000 kidneys each year from the bodies of the world's most desperate. Europe experienced a similar moment in 2013, when an EU court in Kosovo convicted five members of a kidney trafficking ring, and sentenced the clinic's medical director to eight years in prison. Organ trafficking came out of the shadows in Africa and Latin America in 2010, when the Netcare KwaZulu hospital group pleaded guilty to aiding the transplant of black market kidneys that mostly originated in Brazil...


Illegal overseas organ transplants to be punished

The China PostThe China Post | June 10, 2015

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By Sun Hsin-hsuan 

Patients receiving illegal organ transplants overseas will be facing a maximum of five years in prison and a NT$300,000 fine if amendments to the Human Organ Transplantation Act pass the Legislative Yuan, which is likely to happen, according to legislators.

According to Po-chang Lee (李伯璋), chairman of Taiwan Organ Registry and Sharing Center (TWRSC, 器官捐贈移植登錄中心), Taiwanese patients still participate in organ trading in mainland China, which permits organ trafficking. Lawmakers aim to curb this brutal act by making it a crime at home.

In May, amendments to the Human Organ Transplantation Act were proposed, introducing new aspects to the act. Firstly, those undertaking organ trades and transplants arranged overseas will face criminal punishment when patients return to the nation.

Secondly, regulations will make it illegal for organs from criminals sentenced to death to be used in patients.

According to Chen, the controversial issue lies within the diagnosis of brain death. Criminal law allows forensic scientists only 20 minutes in the execution chamber to determine brain death, Chen said.

Under such circumstances, criminals may be certified as brain dead prematurely and medical teams may consequently be removing organs from a living person. "Such cases have really happened," Chen said, adding that it is will be against the law to remove organs from an executed criminal. Moreover, many professional medical teams have refused to conduct such operations.

The third amendment is to mandate officials to enquire whether a person is willing to donate organs after death when reissuing driver's licenses, ID cards, or National Health Insurance cards...

Spanish gang tried to force man to sell his kidney for £4,000

The Independent SpainThe Independent | May 18, 2015

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Spanish police say they have arrested five people suspected of trying to force a Moroccan immigrant to sell one of his kidneys for 6,000 euro (£4,300).

A police statement said the man tried to pull out of the deal while undergoing clinical tests but the group kidnapped him and threatened to kill him if he did not go ahead.

The statement said the alleged buyer was a leader of a criminal gang whose son had kidney problems.

Spain's National Transplant Organisation alerted police to the case...

Kidneys for sale: Iran’s trade in organs

Guardian IranThe Guardian | May 10, 2015

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By Francesco Alesi and Luca Muzi

A strong hot wind blows from the desert and, around the Iranian city of Ahvaz, flames from the chimneys of the oil refineries all bend in the direction of the Persian Gulf. On the road, a festive crowd advances though the dust raised by the wind, to the sound of drums. Shiites are celebrating Ashura. Ghaffar goes to his window to watch: he would like to be with them, but he is in a hospital waiting for a kidney transplant.

In the female transplants unit, the rhythm of the drums drowns out the cheerful chatter of three young patients. Tandis and Chaman are showing Narin the scars on their chest – they have received kidneys and are currently recovering. Narin will have a similar scar soon: she has sold one of her kidneys to Ghaffar...

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