Organ brokers reach across continents to connect buyers and sellers of human organs.
It is illegal to buy or accept money for a human organ but many surgeons are willing to turn a blind eye. The organ donor usually gets a few thousand dollars for their trouble plus the chance to see an American city. And the organ broker charges the buyer about $150.000. These brokers reach across continents to connect the buyers and sellers.
Nancy Scheper-Hughes an anthropologist from the University of California has investigated the illegal traffic in human organs for ten years.Through information she has uncovered during her investigation she believes surgeons at a big Philadelphia hospital have been transplanting black market organs from the poorest impoverished people into rich dialysis patients from Israel, Europe and the United States. She has sixty pages of documented interviews with buyers, sellers, and brokers from every corner of the earth. Former transplant patients have told her that the Philadelphia Hospital is a good place to go for a brokered transplant. Two surgeons were named over and over again.
Scheper-Hughes sometimes poses as a doctor or broker to collect her information. She has linked clergymen, surgeons,and gangsters from South Africa,Brazil and other under developed countries back to our own best medical facilities. She sat down for an interview at this Philadelphis hospital but could not acertain if they knowlingly did anything wrong. Afterwards they did tighten some regulations at the hospital to ensure better control of foreign donors and recipients. But says, Scheper-Hughes “After the interview, they basically threw me out.
It is illegal in every country except Iran to buy and sell human organs. But organ trafficing still flourishes. Kidneys, half livers, skin, eyes, and blood are brokered every day. It’s a case of supply and demand. In the United States alone people in need of a transplant have tripled in the last ten years, topping 100.000. While organ donors are still only 5,000 to 8,000 a year.
For Scheper-Hughes the most difficult part is getting people to believe the problem exists at all. “It used to be a joke that came up at conferences and between surgeons.”she says. It was in books and movies that you had people waking up in a tub of ice with a scar where a kidney used to be. Because people do donate an organ out of kindness it provides an easy cover for those seeking profit. The seller can be out of the hospital with his pay within a day.
Diflo who has worked in numerous hospitals over the last twenty years, says that hospitals who preform illegal transplants certainly exist in the United States. There are hospitals who have a reputation for doing transplants with paid donors, and some hospitals have a “don’t ask” “don’t tell” policy. Nancy has done outstanding work, literally risking her life to expose these networks.
Even as illegal trade is exposed, a roster of Web sites promising to match desperate dialysis patients with strangers continues to proliferate unchecked. “We have no way to know if money is changing hands or not,”says Diflo. People need transplants and the donors want the money. In the United States the wait for a kidney is expected to increase to ten years by 2010. Most dialysis patients die in half that time.
The price of a kidney in nine countries;
Iraq; $750-1,000 Phillippines; $1,500 India; $1,500 Moldove,Romania; $2,700 Brazil; $6,000 Turkey;$7,500 Peru; $10,000 Israel; $10,000-20,000 United States; $30,000