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Cash for human kidneys: A bad idea is back

The HillThe Hill | February 27, 2015

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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.

CCSS intensifies the identification of organ donors

La Nacion Costa RicaLa Nacion | February 15, 2015

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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...

Iraq envoy accuses Isil of harvesting organs

Telegraph IraqThe Telegraph | February 18, 2015

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Iraq's ambassador to the United Nations asked the Security Council on Tuesday to look at allegations that the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (Isil) is using organ harvesting as a way to finance its operations.

Ambassador Mohamed Alhakim told reporters that in the past few weeks, bodies with surgical incisions and missing kidneys or other body parts have been found in shallow mass graves.

"We have bodies. Come and examine them," he said. "It is clear they are missing certain parts."

He also said a dozen doctors had been "executed" in Mosul for refusing to participate in organ harvesting.

Mr Alhakim briefed the council on the overall situation in Iraq and accused Isil of "crimes of genocide" in targeting certain ethnic groups...


6-year-old boy becomes first cadaver donor in state

Times of IndiaThe Times of India | Feb 8, 2015

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JAIPUR: At a tender age of 6, a boy from rural area of the state scripted history. He became the first cadaver donor (organs from brain dead people donated to other patients) in the state. His vital organs - liver and kidney were harvested in Mahatma Gandhi Hospital, Jaipur, where he was undergoing treatment for an injury he suffered on January 30. Before he died, he saved lives of persons who could survive only by liver and kidney transplant.

While the kidney transplant was done at a private hospital in Jaipur, the liver was ferried through a green corridor created between Jaipur and Delhi and the organ was donated to a youth in Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences (ILBS)...


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