Organs for Sale

Warren, a kidney transplant recipient

Transplants and organs for sale has become a hot topic on TV these days.

In an interview, one doctor shrugged when he was asked if he cared where the donor organs came from.

Another man told the interviewer that his mother accepted an organ from a poor foreigner, rather than the one he had offered her. The donor, an 18-year-old girl from China, died shortly afterward. When asked if he and his mother believed that wealthy peoples’ lives have more value than the poor, he said simply, ‘that’s the way it is.’

Brokers pay the poor a few thousand dollars for their organs, then sell them to patients for thousands more.

And yes, I do know whereby I write in this blog. My husband suffered acute renal failure some years ago. He underwent dialysis for 6 years while he waited for a kidney to become available, receiving his from a young man who died suddenly. My husband, another kidney recipient, and others who received this young hero’s heart, lungs, pancreas, liver and corneas, are alive and living quality lives today for the compassionate and brave decision he and/or his family made.

We do not know the young donor’s name, but he lives in our hearts day and night. Now, since watching TV tonight, a young Chinese girl joins him in our prayers, and so many others who are offered cash instead of compassion by the wealthy, their doctors, their families.

Before Warren received his transplant, he signed up with a New England company that we now know was one of these horrible brokerages for human organs. They were aggressive and expensive and we asked them repeatedly to stop calling and emailing us, which they refused to do until after he received his transplant in Ottawa.

These brokers in human organs play upon the desperate, whether they are the poor who are lured with what they probably believe will be ‘easy money’, or the sick who want to be well, and their families.

The Ottawa General Hospital, Ontario, Canada, where my husband had his transplant, has a strict policy in effect: They will accept organs for transplant only from family members or the deceased who have signed their donor cards, or their families, who, like our young donor, agree. Otherwise, these exceptional transplant teams simply refuse to do the surgery.

On December 7th, we will celebrate Warren’s second anniversary of renewed life.

We will honor the young man who died early that same morning in 2007, and the doctors, nurses and support teams whose skills made Warren’s recovery possible. We will recognize the gifts of modern medicine, dedicated medical teams, and especially the kindness of strangers who have sacrificed so much, but there will be little room in our hearts and prayers for people such as the ones mentioned in the first paragraphs who don’t hesitate to take advantage of others.