HealthLawProf Blog

Editor: Katharine Van Tassel
Akron Univ. School of Law

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Friday, June 16, 2006

Chinese Prisoners and Organ Donors

CNN's Anderson Cooper had a story on last night concerning the Chinese use of prisoners as organ donors.  From the Anderson Cooper website:

There are 90,000 people waiting for organs in the United States. Many of them will die before they ever get close to a transplant. Eric DeLeon of San Mateo, California, did not want to be one of them.

Eric was diagnosed with liver cancer last year. Because he had nine tumors, he was taken off the U.S. transplant list. Doctors considered him a poor candidate for survival.

"I just knew that cancer was going to grow and spread throughout my body and I thought I would be another statistic," Eric told me recently.

So Eric and his wife Lori searched the Internet to check out other transplant options. He found a transplant service in China that promised to find him a healthy liver in a matter of weeks. Eric mortgaged his home and paid $110,000 for a new liver. Two weeks later, he arrived in Shanghai. A couple weeks after that, he had his new liver.

Eric is not alone in looking to China for a new organ. We're told that tens of thousands of foreigners are paying for transplant surgery in China. The problem is those organs may be cut from an executed death row prisoner without consent. That's not all. Some organs are said to have been removed before the prisoner took his last breath in order to keep the organs as fresh as possible.

According to a recent editorial, the Chinese government has defended its program.  Thanks to TalkLeft for the heads up on this story.  Truly the wrong answer to the organ shortage. 

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/healthlawprof_blog/2006/06/chinese_prisone.html

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