Transplant Tourism

Debating between 2 Docs Dr O’conner: “Transplant tourism” is a serious and growing problem The ethical quagmire of black market organs is related to transplant tourism, to be sure. But there are a number of other factors to consider before denouncing the practice altogether.  Q: How common is transplant tourism? Dr Reynolds: An estimate 3500-7000 kidney transplants involve paid donors throughout the world every year. That’s between 5-10% of total transplants Q: Are overseas transplant safe? Dr O’connor: a recent UCLA study of 33 patients who had received transplants overseas found that they had much worse results than pts who received transplants in this country. Paid organ donors are not screened as thoroughly as they should be, and problems like hepatitis are often overlooked. Early organ rejection is twice as common in these pts, and infections are frequent. Those who interpret our statements and  develop policy can determine and address any issues of bias. Transplant tourism exploits the poor in 3rd world countries for wealthy American pts. It is unethical & dangerous. Dr Reynolds: not every country shares our ethical framework. It is arrogant to set forth rules and expect every country to follow them. International transplants are the only option available to some pts, and it would be unethical to take that option away from them Q: What do we know about the issues facing the paid organ donors? are they well paid and taken care of? Dr O’connor: it varies widely, but poor people who sell a kidney, sometimes do so for as little as $800 according to the World Health Organization. They will face future health problem including the worsening of their own kidney function provided, that their surgery goes well which is never guaranteed Donors in America have kidneys removed with small incision, but third World Donors, can end up with wounds up to 14 in long. These wounds take months to heal, making the pt unable to do the manual labor that most of them depend on  Chose the one you believe the most ethical 🙂 Resources

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