GORDON SEEKS CLEAR STATE POLICY ON ILLEGAL HUMAN ORGAN TRADE
Senator Richard Gordon urged the national government to impose a clear state policy that will protect the Filipino people against the commercial export and sale of human kidneys and other human organs.
" We end up with a "bidding war" where the healthy organs are up for sale to the highest bidder. We're playing God — he who has the money lives longer. It is a sign of very dark times for the Filipino people when reports show our country to be one of the top sources of organs for sale " Gordon said.
Gordon explained that the supply-and-demand scenario only increases inequality between the impoverished and the wealthy. "A poor person who donates a kidney – or any other body part, for that matter – holds risks in terms of post-operative care. Does he or she receive the necessary medicines as well as the medical follow-up after the operation? Does he or she have access to a healthy diet and environment?"
Gordon also cited a news story posted in Inquirer.net dated September 28, 2007 which revealed that the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) was looking into possible involvement of doctors and other medical personnel of prominent hospitals in the illegal human organ trade.
During an interpellation at the Senate, National Kidney Transplant Institute (NKTI) mentioned that there are about 3,000 to 5,000 registered kidney transplants a year but in Isla Puting Bato in Baseco Tondo alone, a community of 45,000, 3,000 people already 'donated' their kidneys.
"I suspect that there are a lot of unregistered kidney transplants happening. The danger is that no one either supervises or monitors these unregistered operations. What is the national government doing to monitor this organ trade? It is not like an abortion that anyone can just do at home. You cannot do that with a kidney transplant. You have to be in a hospital for an operation like this. Government agencies like the Department of Health (DOH) and the National Kidney and Transplant Institute (NKTI) should be able to monitor these" he lamented.
Gordon said that "the proliferation of organ trade especially amongst poor communities begs the following ethical challenges: Is the sale of an organ voluntary when the seller is forced by poverty to engage in the trade? Is the sale of an organ a justifiable means to fight poverty."
United States television network CNN, last week reported that perfectly healthy men and women in the Philippines have their kidneys harvested and sold. They told the story of Leo Coca who built a house with the money he got from selling his kidney, of the unemployed Ricky Villegas who sold his kidney for $2000 because his family needed the money; and of the 19-year old Joey Ebanyez who sold his kidney to help his sick mother and whose share of money was gone within three months of his operation. The recipients of their kidneys were foreigners – two Chinese and one Saudi. --30--