Sunday, January 4, 2009

International market for transplantable organs: "transplant tourism"

Frank Delmonico writes in response to my previous post as follows:

"Re: the Times of London story

"It is well-known that patients from Greece and Israel and the Gulf countries travel to destinations that provide priority organ transplants for those recipients.

"This practice has become termed “ transplant tourism” and the ethical objection arises from two important aspects:

"1. Rich patients with ample resources are prioritized for example in the UK (as evident by this Times of London story) to undergo transplantation which diverts resources and expertise from the native patients living in that destination country;
2. The impetus to develop or expand deceased donation in the client country is diminished. Why develop a program of deceased organ transplantation, if residents of the client country can readily buy an organ in the destination country?

"Transplant tourism ( and organ trafficking) has been condemned by the Istanbul Declaration.

"The Transplantation Society is working diligently country by country to expose these practices and bring them to a halt. Alternatively, each country should develop a national self-sufficiency in organ donation and transplantation to provide a sufficient number of organs for their own native patients. "

Francis L. Delmonico, M.D.
Director of Medical Affairs
The Transplantation Society

World Health Organization
Advisory for Human Transplantation

Professor of Surgery
Harvard Medical School

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