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Transplant tourism poses ethical dilemma for US doctors
Date:1/26/2010

the People's Republic of China (PRC) and was transplanted two weeks after arrival. After transplantation, HQ returned to the Mount Sinai program requesting follow-up care, which was provided. HQ then developed biliary sepsis requiring hospitalization and re-transplantation seemed to be the only viable option.

"While the patient was a medically suitable candidate, team members disagreed if it were indeed, morally right to provide him with a transplant," said Thomas Schiano, M.D., one of the case clinicians and lead author of this study. Ultimately, the transplant team proceeded with a liver transplant for HQ and he is currently doing well. "Our consensus to transplant was based on the relevant principles of medical ethicsnon-judgmental regard, beneficence, and fiduciary responsibility," added Dr. Schiano.

The study authors estimate that more than 400 patients received transplants abroad with 75% of those taking place between 2004 and 2006. Of those transplant tourists, 40% reside in New York and California, and the majority these patients traveled to the PRC, where organs from executed prisoners have been used in transplantations. Although transplant tourism is not held in high regard, the practice violates neither current U.S. law nor the National Organ Transplant Act. Current UNOS policies allow a small percentage of each center's transplants to be allotted for foreign nationals, essentially allowing for transplant tourism within the U.S.

Over the last few years, professional associations have established transplant tourism policies to provide guidance to clinicians and uphold the principles of medical ethics. The AASLD and International Liver Transplant Society (ILTS) have positions against the exploitation of donors, the recovery of organs from executed prisoners, and condemned the use of paid living donors. Similarly, the American Society of Transplantation declares that optimal medical care should not be withheld from thos
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Contact: Dawn Peters
medicalnews@wiley.com
781-388-8408
Wiley-Blackwell
Source:Eurekalert

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