Photo: Latin American illegal organ transplants continue to exploit the poor
As many are looking for any means of escaping poverty, the illicit market of organ transplants is growing.
Every year, about 5,000 gravely people form the United States, Saudi Arabia, and Israel pay others to donate an organ, but in some cases, the donor, patient, or both die from complications, begging the question: Is it worth the risk?
While affluent and often desperate patients travel to the Philippines, Peru, and Egypt, to ask poverty stricken people to donate their organs, Latin American transplants tend to be arranged by unlicensed brokers. For a fee, these transplants are performed by accredited surgeons, some having trained the best in the world at top medical schools.
Desperation has driven the sick patients to seek donors abroad, as the U.S. has 110,693 people on waiting lists for organs, with only about 15,000 donors found each year.
Illegal organ traders prey on the less fortunately and search the world’s slums to try to entice potential donors with the price of enough money that can carry them and their families out of the immense poverty.
In Colombia, according to the their National Health Institute, 321 foreigners got transplants from 2005 to 2010. Sadly, says Juan Lopez a doctor who oversees Colombia’s organ transplant system as NHI director, the surgeries are driven by profit for hospitals, doctors, and brokers.
Lopez has gone to court to try to stop 23 transplants in 2010.
“I don’t want my country to be a Mecca for transplant tourism.”
Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru have passed laws restricting or banning organ donations by people who aren’t related to the patient.