Two patients admitted that they paid for a kidney, even though it is illegal in the Netherlands. In addition, it often happens that Dutch patients travel abroad for a commercial organ transplant.
A survey of 241 care providers who treat kidney patients shows that 46 percent of them has treated 1 to 4 patients who have undergone a kidney transplantation abroad. 65 of the care providers suspect that the kidney had been bought, 31 of them say they know this for a fact.
This involves patients who suddenly appear in the hospital with a new kidney and confirm that they paid a lot of money for the kidney and transplant, or refuse to say how they came by the new kidney. According to criminologist Frederike Ambagtsheer, head researcher of the project, these patients are mostly of foreign origin and were operated on in their country of origin or in a country with which they have an affinity.
Conversations with patients indicated that the costs range from 6 thousand euro to 100 thousand dollars. Countries where such operations are facilitated include Pakistan, India, Colombia and China. China has the shortest waiting times and makes no secret of the fact that the organs come from executed prisoners. According to Ambagtsheer, Pakistan is the cheapest.
The buying and selling of organs is illegal world wide, except for in Iran. The donation of organs is not always entirely voluntary, especially in countries with great poverty.
This study by Erasmus MC, conducted by two criminologists, is not focused on the investigation and prosecution of patients and donors. It is focused on addressing the people that make trafficking possible, such as doctors, recruiters, insurance companies and intermediaries dealing with illegal commercial enrichment.
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