GCforum Topic 9: Body Parts
Donor kidneys are in short supply
(Friday, 06 October 2006)
Is It Ethical for Patients with Renal Disease to Purchase Kidneys from the World's Poor?
The Public Library of Science
October Issue 2006
Tarif Bakdash, Nancy Scheper-Hughes
"Background to the debate: In many countries, the number of patients waiting for a kidney transplant is increasing. But there is a widespread and serious shortage of kidneys for transplantation, a shortage that can lead to suffering and death.
One approach to tackling the shortage is for a patient with renal disease to buy a kidney from a living donor, who is often in a developing country, a sale that could -- in theory at least -- help to lift the donor out of poverty."
"Such kidney sales are almost universally illegal. Proponents of kidney sales argue that since the practice is widespread, it would be safer to formally regulate it, and that society should respect people's autonomous control over their bodies. Critics express concern about the potential for exploitation and coercion of the poor, and about the psychological and physical after-effects on the donors of this illegal kidney trade."
An Organ swap film festival
examining the ethical issues of organ transplantation is set to get under way at the Edinburgh Filmhouse next month and will address the question. The event will cover topics relating to transplantation, including films about organ trafficking and the ethics of putting animal organs into humans. A programme of ten films has been organised, including the cult classic 21 Grams, which stars Sean Penn.
Scotsman, United Kingdom 25 October 2006
See also World First for Medical Film Festival if you are interested in this festival
Allmediascotland, UK 18 October 2006
Grey's Anatomy: Entertaining but Irresponsible
FOX News 24 Oct 2006
Organ transplants are the ultimate zero-sum game. For every patient saved, someone else is not. There are many more people needing hearts, livers, lungs and kidneys than there are available organs. Thousands of Americans die each year waiting for a transplant.
The ethics of rich countries "harvesting" human organs from third world global cultures is likely to be a topic that will be around for a very long time -- and will likely be an even greater topic of global conversation/concern after next month's Edinburgh Film Festival featuring organ transplantation and trafficking.
Statistics suggest that the trend of the rich harvesting human organs from the poorer nations and cultures could even increase.
A number of articles related to global human organ concerns follow. Pick out and read at least one article on ethics, one article on the nature of buying/selling organs in principle, and one article on how practices should be globally regulated in terms of future organ colonialism. Then answer the questions at the end.
What is a Kidney Worth?
Christian Science Monitor
Organ-trafficking laws in key countries
In 1998, Brazil passed a law making every Brazilian adult an organ donor at death, except in case of special exemption. . . .
Christian Science Monitor 06 September 2004
Organ Transplantation in Developing Countries
Websites critical of legislation prohibiting organ selling
According to United Nations statistics, the wealthiest 20% of the world's population have absorbed 83% of world income. Certainly the factor of justice is one that cannot be dismissed when analyzing international affairs and civilizational relations. . . .
Bioethics of organ transplants in developing countries
What price medical ethics if you are desperately poor, live in Pakistan and need a kidney transplant? Ehsan Masood discovers some of the dilemmas. . . .
New Scientist (subscription), UK 04 October 2006
BBC NEWS | Talk about Newsnight | Cash-for- kidneys?
If the rich donor's (assuming such people exist) remaining kidney packs up he can purchase another.
31 August 2006
Pay organ donors, expert suggests
People should be paid for living organ donations, argues a US surgeon in a leading medical journal.
BBC News 6 October 2006
Call to allow body organ selling
Although illegal in most nations, and viewed as unethical by professional medical organisations, the voluntary sale of purchased donor kidneys now accounts for thousands of black market transplants."
BBC News 16 February 2006
Oversight of US organ transplants flawed: report
The organization that oversees the US organ transplant system often fails to detect or fix problems at the hospitals it is charged with. . . .
Reuters 22 October 2006
Stiffer steps needed for organ donations
According to the investigation into hospitals that conduct kidney transplants from living donors, 30 of 135 surveyed institutions said their doctors have refused to do operations due to suspicions over questionable organ donations.
The Daily Yomiuri, Japan 23 October 2006
Funeral directors plead guilty to organ smuggling
Ninemsn, Australia 18 October 2006
Funeral homes in Rochester, Manhattan, Brooklyn and the Bronx have been accused of providing corpses for the organ smuggling scheme.
KeepMedia 18 October 2006
Organ donation - Ireland falling behind
Irish Health, Ireland 11 October 2006
[UK] Transplant law 'likely to fail'
Legal changes to help boost organ donations are likely to fail without an overhaul of NHS services, a report says.
BBC News 15 Oct 2006
Reaction to [UK] organ donor change
Reaction to the changes in organ donation laws.
BBC News 31 Aug 2006
'I'm waiting for a transplant'
Changes to the Human Tissue Act may help people waiting for organs. One woman tells of the long wait for a kidney transplant.
BBC News 31 August 2006
China faces suspicions about organ harvesting
Christian Science Monitor 08 March 2006
Organ Shortage Fuels Illicit Trade in Human Parts
National Geographic 16 January 2004
Organ Stealing: Fact, Fantasy, Conspiracy, or Urban Legend? -- Nancy Scheper-Hughes
Kidney Devils -- Benjamin Radford
1. Should people be paid for organ "donating," legally or otherwise? Why? Or, why not?
2. From the point of view of global ethics, in your mind, what are the three most important ethical concerns relative to rich countries harvesting human organs from the poor countries?
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