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Thread: Canadians flying to China to buy organs from executed prisoners?

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    Elite Member twitchy's Avatar
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    Default Canadians flying to China to buy organs from executed prisoners?

    Activists raise concerns over transplants in China


    ALEX DOBROTA

    OTTAWA -- Exasperated by long waits at hospitals here, a growing number of Canadians are flying to China to buy organs possibly harvested from executed prisoners, two prominent lawyers said yesterday.

    To curb this practice, Foreign Affairs should post a travel advisory warning Canadians against Chinese transplants, said David Kilgour, a former MP, and David Matas, a Winnipeg-based human rights lawyer.

    Dealings between the two countries have been tense, and the remarks are likely to further strain the relationship, which is already clouded by the jailing of a Canadian citizen in China.

    The issue also worries doctors here, who see it as an illustration of the dire situation of Canadian patients who wait for transplants.

    "Everywhere else in the world, you have recipients waiting for donors. In China, it's the reverse, donors are waiting for recipients," Mr. Matas said yesterday, after releasing a second report on this issue. "Once a customer arrives into China somebody is killed for the organ."

    Since they released their first report in July, Mr. Kilgour and Mr. Matas travelled throughout Asia, where they said they found new evidence that Chinese authorities are harvesting the organs of jailed Falun Gong practitioners.

    For instance, organ recipients have told the lawyers they received care from military doctors in military hospitals, which could indicate the involvement of the Chinese army, the pair said.

    The lawyers say they found that as many as 41,500 transplant operations in China have probably been performed using organs transplanted from prisoners. Their two-month investigation was commissioned by the Washington-based Coalition to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong practitioners.

    Other international human-rights organizations said they are concerned about reports of forced organ harvesting in China, but do not have evidence that prisoners are executed for this purpose.

    In a statement released yesterday, the Chinese embassy denied this practice is taking place and insisted medical authorities abide by World Health Organization standards.

    But Canadian doctors said their patients who return from China with a transplanted organ almost never have documents showing the origin of the donor.

    "Ethically, it's a very difficult thing for me to come to terms with," said Dr. Jeffrey Zaltzman, the director of transplantation at St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto.

    Over the past few years, Dr. Zaltzman said, he has encountered about 20 patients who returned from China with a new organ but little knowledge of the donor.

    The two lawyers estimate that around 100 Canadians went to China for organs in recent years. That number is relatively low when compared with the roughly 4,000 patients awaiting transplantation in Canada last year. But doctors and medical experts say growing waiting times are pushing more people to seek organs outside the country.

    In China, a kidney can be bought for $62,000 within months, according to Mr. Matas and Mr. Kilgour's report, while patients can wait as long as eight years in Canada.
    globeandmail.com: Activists raise concerns over transplants in China

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    Elite Member moomies's Avatar
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    I saw on TV when I was in Japan this Japanese dude who got a kidney transplant in China. It came from an executed prisoner and was old and already starting to rot etc. He got a major infection from it and also because of the botched/unsanitary job (they didn't stitch him well, they showed his scars, too, and he looked like Frankenstein in the abdomen).

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    A*O
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    I guess it's inevitable that desperately sick people will go to any lengths to obtain a donor organ if it's going to save their lives.

    This highlights the worldwide problem that there are too few donors. People (or more accurately their families) still insist on being buried or burned with perfectly healthy and donatable organs. I heard on the radio yesterday that out of over 200,000 annual deaths in Australia, only 200 people donated organs. I know that not everyone is a suitable a donor, but there are still way too many people who just don't want to know OR they don't tell their family that they want to be donors. It's all very well carrying a donor card, your family can still veto it.

    I think rather than opting IN to being a donor, you should opt OUT so in situations where you are a potential donor the doctors will assume they can use your organs to save others rather than be forced to ask a grieving family for permission. As far as I'm concerned they can take anything they want from me when I don't need them any more. If, God forbid, I die prematurely and my organs can be used to save other lives then I'm sure my family will get a lot of comfort from it and I know it would transform the lives of recipients by giving them chance for a long and happy life. This really is a no brainer.
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    Elite Member moomies's Avatar
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    My aunt (mom's sister) bought a grave lot in this prestigeous buddhist temple together with my mom right beside each other. Then they had an argument and she now doesn't want to be burried next to my mom so she donated her lot to the temple and says she'll also donate her body to a university for research. I think that is also a good option for someone old whose organs may not be usable for transplants.

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    Elite Member sputnik's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by A*O View Post
    I think rather than opting IN to being a donor, you should opt OUT so in situations where you are a potential donor the doctors will assume they can use your organs to save others rather than be forced to ask a grieving family for permission. As far as I'm concerned they can take anything they want from me when I don't need them any more. If, God forbid, I die prematurely and my organs can be used to save other lives then I'm sure my family will get a lot of comfort from it and I know it would transform the lives of recipients by giving them chance for a long and happy life. This really is a no brainer.
    totally agree. a few countries have legislation like that but they are mostly in the developing world. in the west, i know only of spain that has a law like that, and as a result, they have some of the shortest waiting lists for transplants. i don't know why more countries haven't followed suit. if a person really have some kind or moral or religious reason against donation, then they should be the ones that have to go out of their way to have a non-donor card made out.
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    A*O
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    It's also very important to discuss this issue with your family because they will be asked to make the ultimate decision. Tell them you absolutely want to be a donor and they must respect your decision and give permission even if they don't agree. Of course they can still say No, but a lot of families have no clue what each other's wishes are on this.

    My mother no only wants to be a donor, although she's getting too old now and so probably won't have much to offer, but she also wants to donate her brain to Alzheimer's research if she develops dementia. So far she seems perfectly OK but things can change. She has discussed all this with me and my sister and we are absolutely clear on what she wants to happen and so of course we will do all we can to make sure her wishes are respected.
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    There was a Body Worlds-type exhibit going on in Seattle that I was going to see, but I decided against it when I found out there was a controversy because of where the bodies were from. They were supposedly all executed Chinese prisoners.

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    ^^^
    i saw that one in vienna. i hadn't heard about the prisoners being chinese though. i'd still go though, it's that fascinating.
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    I'm going to see the actually BodyWorlds exhibit in Vancouver BC after I do a little research about where the bodies come from. It's crucial to me that these people donated their bodies to science.

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    i agree about donating ones' organs..i don't understand why people want to be buried with everything intact..you can't use anything anymore..some living person can..it seems a no-brainer to me...of course be an organ-donor if you can and you are healthy enough..

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    I'm an organ donor - I have no problem with it. I had an old boyfriend that was totally against it. He had two arguments - one was that if you were really sick, they may take the organs by lying to your family about your survival of whatever illness you have, thus speeding your demise, and two - what if when you went to heaven, you still needed your body parts. Try arguing rationally with that one

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    We can laugh about it, but that IS the reason most people refuse to consider being a donor. The Catholic Church only fairly recently lifted its ban on cremation as opposed to burial.
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    People will do anything for money. It's fucking disguting to kill someone just to get their organs. Things like this upset me.
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    I don`t know. I could NEVER be an organ donor. Something about someone else having something that`s mines just annoys me. I know how it sounds and that I sound selfish, but I really don`t care. I just don`t want to give someone else my body parts after I`ve died.

    Unless it`s someone close to me like my sister. I`d give my heart to her if she needed it, anything. But not to anyone else. I don`t know how to explain it, but I could never be a donor to some random person. I don`t care if it`s the most wonderful person in the world, I couldn`t do it if it wasn`t my sister. Not even my parents.

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    I've heard all the arguments, but I am an organ donor and I think everybody should be. Some day YOU might be the one needing an organ, and I guarantee, you will feel differently about it then.
    Last edited by pacific breeze; May 21st, 2007 at 08:15 PM.

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