Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Organs and tissue markets and black markets

NPR has a series of posts on tissue donation, which includes bones and sinews, and for which there's a regulated market, but also a black market.

Human Tissue Donation

Calculating The Value Of Human Tissue Donation(68) 

Chris Truitt holds a photo of his daughter, Alyssa, who died when she was 2, at his home in De Forest Wis. After donating her organs and tissues, he decided on a career change that made him rethink tissue donation.
July 17, 2012 Many organ donors are unaware they've also agreed to donate their veins, bones, skin and other tissue, which can be used not only to save a life, but also to help a cosmetic surgery patient. It's a $1 billion a year industry many know little about.

Little Regulation Poses Problems Tracking Tissue(15) 

Unlike organs, tissue doesn't need to be transplanted immediately.  Storage facilities like Tissue Banks International in San Rafael, Calif., process and store donated tissue for later use in medical products or as transplants.
July 18, 2012 An NPR News investigation has found there's little scrutiny at key points in the tissue donation and transplant process, which could lead to serious medical mistakes.

Am I A Tissue Donor, Too?(23)  

Organ and tissue donation forms vary from state to state. Some are very general, while others allow people to choose or restrict what they want to donate.
July 18, 2012 NPR's Joseph Shapiro knew he had signed up to be an organ donor, but he didn't realize the red heart on his driver's license signifies that he also agreed to donate his tendons, bones, veins and other tissue.

The Seamy Side Of The Human Tissue Business(26)  

Michael Mastromarino (center) appeared in a New York City courtroom for sentencing on charges of corruption, body stealing and reckless endangerment, as the mastermind behind a scheme to loot hundreds of corpses and sell bone and tissue for transplants.
July 19, 2012 Body-stealing cases like that of Michael Mastromarino illustrate how an industry built on altruism can fall into the hands of the greedy.

Andrew Sullivan has a video: The Global Cadaver Trade


In my 2007 article Repugnance as a Constraint on Markets I wrote about the case of Alistair Cooke, whose body parts were misappropriated after his death. Here's a colorful recounting of that and related stories from a 2006  New York Magazine story called The Organ Grinder.

HT: Steve Leider

No comments: