Kidney Transplant Controller Wants To Distribute Human Organs Based On ‘Equity’

If someone donates one of their kidneys and later needs a new one, should they go to the top of the transplant waitlist? Yes, say good people. Yes, say normal people. Not anymore, say the bureaucrats in charge of the transplant waitlist. Instead, they say it’s time for a “more equitable approach.”

Currently, the people at the top of the kidney transplant waitlist are people who have donated one of their organs to someone else (living donors), young children who are a great biological match with an organ, and patients who are very hard to be matched with any organ. The United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) is a private non-profit that holds a contract with the federal government to run the transplant waitlist, and they want to change that. UNOS wants to remove these “hard boundaries” in favor of a new system that erodes the protections for living donors.

A report commissioned by UNOS envisions a drastic reduction in prioritization for living donors — going from the current virtual guarantee of getting a new kidney to a slight bonus on the waiting list — equivalent to as low as 10 percent of the total prioritization score. This policy would betray those who have already donated an organ and discourage others from donating in the future. They are pushing this policy even though their own research shows that changing from the current policy will not reduce death rates but lead to a higher rate of failed kidney transplants in the first year after surgery.

Keep reading

No, Trading Flesh for Prison Time Is Not “Bodily Autonomy”

YOUR LIVER OR your liberty? Choose one.

This is the proposition that a bill in the Massachusetts House of Representatives puts to people locked up in the commonwealth: Donate bone marrow or an organ or two, says HD 3822, and the Department of Correction will cut 60 to 365 days off your sentence. The bill is sponsored by four Democrats.

Everything is wrong with this proposal except its intentions: to shorten transplant waiting lists and reduce state prison populations. Or so I assume. The 370-word text does little more than establish a Bone Marrow and Organ Donation Program within the Department of Correction and a committee to work out the details. There is not even a perfunctory assurance of informed consent. With any luck, the bill will flutter to the bottom of some committee’s docket.

But HD 3822 is more than a piece of legislative slapdashery. It hints at the ways policymakers think about people and bodies and the calculus that determines which bodies deserve respect and care and which do not.

Keep reading

Chinese Police Sold Organs From Executed Prisoners, Witness Says

It’s not uncommon to see someone breaking down in tears in hospitals. So when Guo Zhigong, who was being treated for aplastic anemia, tried to help a fellow patient who was crying, he didn’t expect to hear a story about China’s opaque organ transplant business.

The patient, in his 40s, was worried about a kidney transplant scheduled the next day in eastern China’s Qingdao city. The promised organ was from a prisoner due to be executed hours before the life-saving surgery. They had already undergone blood matches.

But what followed was another eye-opener: the family of the executed appeared to have no knowledge that a part of their loved one’s body had been sold by the police.

The patient’s wife was told to give cash gifts to the police, Gao recalled what the woman told him. The police, according to the woman’s recount, told the father of the executed prisoner that he didn’t have all the necessary documentation to recover the body. This was an excuse the police gave so that they could keep the body for their grisly business.

“Once they got the body, the organs were sold to hospitals,” Guo, who now lives in the UK, told The Epoch Times. “This is the source of the kidney.”

That incident occurred in the early 1990s, when there was no voluntary organ donation system in China. Most kidneys, livers, corneas, and other organs for transplantation were taken from executed prisoners, the regime admitted in 2005. Prior to that, the authorities denied that it stripped organs from executed inmates, a practice that has long been criticized by human rights groups given that prisoners lack the ability to provide free consent.

But abuses in China’s transplant industry do not end there. Over the past decade-and-a-half, detailed accounts from informants and extensive research papers have shown that organs have been removed even before prisoners died.

Keep reading

Inmates in Massachusetts could reduce their sentence by up to a year for donating organs or bone marrow

A new bill in Massachusetts, if passed, would allow the potential for inmates to have their sentences reduced if they donate organs or bone marrow to help provide “life-saving treatment” for black and Latino people.

Democrat state Representatives Carlos Gonzalez and Judith Garcia introduced HD.3822, which would allow for a reduction in sentences by no less than 60 days and no more than 365 days.

“The Bone Marrow and Organ Donation Program shall allow eligible incarcerated individuals to gain not less than 60 and not more than 365 day reduction in the length of their committed sentence in Department of Corrections facilities, or House of Correction facilities if they are serving a Department of Correction sentence in a House of Corrections facility, on the condition that the incarcerated individual has donated bone marrow or organ(s),” the bill reads.

“In my view, there is no compelling reason to bar inmates from this,” Gonzalez said, according to AOL/The Miami Herald.

Keep reading

Strange New Organ Transplant Methods Raise Urgent Questions

If you or a loved one has needed an organ transplant, you know the problem firsthand: There are not enough organs for those who need them and there is a long waiting period.

That desperate need, and potential profits, have fueled a Frankenstein-like effort to find or create organs to give recipients a longer lease on life.

The need for organs can be a matter of life or death. In the United States, more than 105,000 people sit on the national waiting list, and every nine minutes, a new name is added. Seventeen people die every day while waiting for an organ transplant in the United States, according to the government’s organ donor website.

The most common transplant operations are for hearts, kidneys, livers, pancreases, lungs, bone and bone marrow, skin, and intestines; some such transplants come from living donors, but most are obtained after a donor is deceased.

Different organs remain viable for different amounts of time after the patient has died, or after the organ has been taken from the deceased.

According to Donor Alliance, the liver can remain viable for transplant for up to 12 hours, and kidneys for up to 36 hours. But for other organs, such as the heart or lungs, that window is much shorter, in the range of 4 to 6 hours.

With so few organs available for so many in need, there’s tremendous pressure on scientists and industry to push the boundaries of medical ethics with products and procedures that can sound like mad science.

These vanguard developments raise fundamental questions about human life, the commodification of the human body, and the very definition of “human.”

Let’s put aside the obvious horrors of forced organ harvesting from prisoners of conscience in China, including Tibetans, Uyghurs, and, most notably, Falun Gong practitioners, “the primary victims of this cruel practice,” according to the U.S. Human Rights Commission.

Everyone can agree that this practice is abhorrent, but there are other new practices that raise more complex questions, including a new practice that some fear is being used to curb the dead donor rule.

That rule requires that a patient be dead, and often for several minutes, before their organs are taken. This ensures organs only come from the deceased.

Keep reading

Nebraska Physicians Are Playing ‘Fast And Loose’ With ‘Dead Donor’ Organ Harvesting Laws

The University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) in Omaha may be skirting laws governing the procurement of human organs for transplant by harvesting organs from individuals who may not yet be dead.

UNMC surgeons have developed a protocol for “normothermic regional perfusion with controlled donation after circulatory death,” a practice fraught with ethical concerns.

Under UNMC’s protocol, published at, the donor is removed from life support, and once the heart has stopped (circulatory death) the surgeons wait five minutes – as required by Nebraska law – to see if the heart restarts on its own.

If it does not, surgeons cut open the chest cavity to begin organ harvest, then sever blood flow to the brain – ensuring brain death – before artificially reanimating the circulatory system with an external pump. The resumption of blood circulation restarts the beating of the heart, keeping the organs functioning and viable for harvest.

In 1981, the Uniform Determination of Death Act (UDDA) became law, establishing the parameters by which an individual may be considered “dead.” As per the law, a person may be declared legally dead after the “irreversible cessation of circulatory and respiratory functions, or the irreversible cessation of all functions of the brain, including the brainstem.”

UNMC’s restarting of the circulatory process within minutes of declared death proves the circulatory and respiratory functions have not “irreversibly” ceased. Proponents of UNMC’s organ harvest protocol dismiss this apparent contravention of the UDDA by claiming the donor is “brain-dead” by the time circulation is resumed.

What isn’t acknowledged is the harvester’s role in bringing about that brain death, caused by their own interruption of the brain’s blood supply, as described in the second step of UNMC’s protocol:

2) Ligation of all the blood vessels that supply blood to the brain to ensure that blood flow to the brain is not reestablished once circulation is restarted as described below.

If the brain is already “dead” as claimed, resuming blood flow would not bring it back, making this step unnecessary. The fact the step is included reveals the brain may indeed still be functioning at some level, and the organ harvesting surgeons know it.

The intent of this macabre procedure is to preserve the body’s organs as close to living form as possible.

Keep reading

Synthetic embryo with brain and beating heart is grown from mouse stem cells for the first time – and the technique could one day be used to create artificial human organs for transplantation

Researchers have created ‘synthetic’ embryos from mouse stem cells that have beating hearts as well as the foundations of brains and all other organs.

The models are intended to help the scientists at the University of Cambridge better understand the mechanisms of embryo development. 

While the research was carried out in mouse models, it is hoped the results could increase understanding of why some human embryos fail while others go on to develop into a healthy pregnancy.

Additionally, they could be used to guide the repair and development of synthetic human organs for transplantation, the experts suggest.

Professor Magdalena Zernicka-Goetz, said: ‘Our mouse embryo model not only develops a brain, but also a beating heart, all the components that go on to make up the body.

‘It’s just unbelievable that we’ve got this far.

‘This has been the dream of our community for years, and a major focus of our work for a decade and finally we’ve done it.’

Keep reading

This startup wants to copy you into an embryo for organ harvesting

In a search for novel forms of longevity medicine, a biotech company based in Israel says it intends to create embryo-stage versions of people in order to harvest tissues for use in transplant treatments.

The company, Renewal Bio, is pursuing recent advances in stem-cell technology and artificial wombs demonstrated by Jacob Hanna, a biologist at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot. Earlier this week, Hanna showed that starting with mouse stem cells, his lab could form highly realistic-looking mouse embryos and keep them growing in a mechanical womb for several days until they developed beating hearts, flowing blood, and cranial folds. 

It’s the first time such an advanced embryo has been mimicked without sperm, eggs, or even a uterus. Hanna’s report was published in the journal Cell on Monday.

“This experiment has huge implications,” says Bernard Siegel, a patient advocate and founder of the World Stem Cell Summit. “One wonders what mammal could be next in line.”  

Keep reading

High-ranking Nigerian politician Ike Ekweremadu, 60, and his academic wife, 55, are charged with plotting to bring a child from Nigeria to the UK for organ harvesting

The Nigerian couple arrested on suspicion of plotting to harvest the organs of a child in the UK are one of the west African nation’s most high profile politicians and his wife, MailOnline can reveal today. 

Ike Ekweremadu, 60, a People’s Democratic Party politician for 19 years who was once Deputy President of the nation’s senate, was held with Nwanneka Ekweremadu, 55, in Britain this month.

Mr Ekweremadu has been an elected senator at the Abuja-based parliament since 2003 after moving into politics after years as a lawyer. His wife, five years his junior, is an academic and doctor and also a major public figure in Nigeria. They are believed to have four adult children.

They are both charged with conspiracy to arrange or facilitate travel of another person with a view to exploitation, namely organ harvesting. The have been remanded in custody and will appear at Uxbridge Magistrates’ Court today.

The Metropolitan Police has said the child, who is under the age of 18, at the centre of the alleged plot is in care. Organ harvesting involves removing parts of the body, often for cash and against the victim’s will.

Scotland Yard has not given the gender or the age of the child – or the location of the arrests. But given the suspects are appearing in court in Uxbridge, it is likely they were held at the nearby Heathrow Airport. 

Ekweremadu has been in the UK for at least the past fortnight having met with members of the Nigerian community in Britain in Lincoln around ten days ago. 

He tweeted: ‘It was a pleasure and an honour to receive a letter of appointment by the University of Lincoln, UK, as Visiting Professor of Corporate and International Linkages. I also got a highly treasured gift – a copy of the Magna Carta. It was created in 1215, about 807 years ago’.

Keep reading

Emails Suggest The Federal Government Colluded With U-Pitt To Cover Up Experiments On Babies

Recently released emails show National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director Francis Collins agreeing to a Zoom meeting with University of Pittsburgh (Pitt) administrators apparently to downplay allegations about the university’s experiments on aborted babies.

Last fall, revelations about the University of Pittsburgh’s fetal tissue research sparked outrage that the institution may have received organs that were extracted from live fetuses, or that tissue may have come from abortions that violated federal anti-trafficking law. Now, emails obtained by Judicial Watch indicate Biden’s NIH may have been working behind the scenes in collusion with Pitt to dampen the news and the pushback that followed it.

Keep reading