Organs are hard to come by in China these days: a million people a year need transplants, but less than one percent actually receive one. Getting on the coveted organ list is easier if you’re famous – the late Fu Biao had two liver transplants within a few months – but generally, the need for organs far exceeds the number of possible donors.
This is especially problematic since China has been trying to wean itself off using executed prisoners for organs (with or without their consent). Hospitals are now reaching out to citizens in hopes of convincing private citizens to donate, but actual willing donations are unlikely until they deal with the black market. Corruption has the unfortunate side effect of a huge increase in organ trafficking.
Says China Daily:
“Corruption can arise during the process,” he said.
Some just ignore legal procedures regarding organ donations from executed prisoners and make a fat profit, Huang said.
All costs are passed on to patients. Sometimes the recipient pays up to 200,000 yuan ($29,000) for a kidney, not including other medical services
Organs are a squeamish business, especially when we read that officials file fake papers to issue live organ transfers. We guess that with only 130 donors since 2003 and the high price of organs on the black market, we’ve got to take a laissez-fare approach to the entire situation.
In the words of The Onion: “So long as my new pancreas is already in the mail, this doesn’t affect me in the least.”
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