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Doctor warns medical community about China’s organ harvesting

Posted by Author on December 23, 2010

By Melissa Evans Staff Writer, Dec. 22, 2010 –

For Dr. Eric Jay Goldberg, an international organ transplant expert, the math doesn’t add up.

In the United States, those who need kidney transplants wait between three to five years for donor match to surface; for those who need a liver, the wait is about seven years.

But for paying customers, China will perform kidney transplants in a week, and can find a liver in about a month.

“You would have to have thousands and thousands of donors to satisfy that demand,” said Goldberg, who spoke Wednesday at a medical center in Torrance. “China can hardly account for that kind of supply.”
Goldberg, who runs an international business helping researchers set up clinical trials, said he turned down a lucrative contract to help Chinese researchers test transplant drugs.

He spoke about his experience and observations at the request of an international nonprofit, Doctors Against Forced Organ Harvesting.

The problem of taking vital organs from unwilling donors is “shocking,” said Dana Churchill, a holistic physician in Torrance and the nonprofit’s Southern California representative.

The Peoples Republic of China has admitted it takes organs from prisoners on death row, but has denied repeatedly that it harvests organs from millions of practitioners of Falun Gong, a banned spiritual movement, who are held in camps against their will.

But international human rights activists, along with Nobel Peace Prize nominees.

David Kilgour and David Mates of Canada, have chronicled the alleged gruesome scheme.

When the Chinese government awarded Goldberg’s company a contract for medical trials, he said he began looking into the country’s medical practices for himself.

“I made it my business to learn what I could, and became aware of questionable tactics used by the (government),” he said.

It is well known that China is a big player in the so-called transplant tourism industry, which attracts wealthy patients from the West who pay for organs instead of waiting years at home. The cost for a kidney in China, and medical care to perform the operation, runs about $62,000, he said.

But even though China is the most populous country in the world, it is unlikely that its supply of organs would meet the demand for paying customers, said Goldberg, a transplant surgeon for 22 years. The country has about 1,500 prisoners on death row, and many don’t qualify as donors, he said.

Though difficult to prove, Churchill and other activists say there is substantial evidence indicating the government screens Falun Gong practitioners and tests their tissue; when a donor match arises, they are taken to the operating table against their will.

Goldberg and others on Wednesday urged medical companies to do their homework on the issue, and be wary of practices that violate medical ethical codes. They also discourage people from buying organs from China.

Dailybreeze.com

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