KUDOS TO MOH DG – HUMAN ORGANS NOT FOR SALE!


Dr Jacob George is president and legal adviser to the Consumers Association of Subang and Shah Alam (Cassa)

On businessmen Organ Transplant advocates, private hospitals and PR operatives prostituting to change policies on organ trade (Part 2)

I am deeply indebted to the proactive, no nonsense tolerating Director General of the Ministry of Health, Tan Sri, Datuk Seri, Dr Ismail Merican for addressing this issue and stating the ministry’s policy!

In my earlier blog posting, being extremely disturbed, I raised the issue as I was aware of the attempts of a few groups comprising of businessmen organ transplant advocates, certain private hospitals, former mainstream journalists working as public relations executives at private hospitals and their former friends still at mainstream media and Public Relations firms attempting to spin stories to change present policies on organ transplants and the aspirations of the UN as outlined in the Istanbul Declarations!- Consumer Advocate – Dr Jacob George

A team of CASSA’s medical consultants have been monitoring the attempt of these groups for a period of time and we have linked the dots!

We are aware of the identities of the players too.

But they will fail and fail miserably despite their well coordinated and financially spread attempts!

Let me put this in another way – I hate businessmen organ transplant advocates, certain private hospitals are conduits – indulging in such moves and those in their camp!

We will continue to monitor, we will continue to frustrate any and all of their attempts to make Malaysia a site of their business plan!


In the meantime – MOH Director General Dr Ismail’s (above left) statement (see below) carried in the New Straits Times by Annie Freeda Cruez is welcomed!

‘About 10,000 Malaysians have been listed on the “urgent waiting list” for organs such as kidneys, livers, hearts and lungs.

“Cadaveric organs (from those who died) is still very low in the country despite all the aggressive campaigns.

“This is why organ transplants cannot be performed as much as the surgeons want to and save as many lives as possible,” said health director-general Tan Sri Dr Ismail Merican.

Many countries, including developed nations, are facing the same problem.

Although some countries have turned to living donors for certain organs due to a shortfall in supply of cadaveric organs, Dr Ismail said the ministry would ensure that surgical transplantation of human organs from deceased and living donors to sick and dying patients was done in accordance with the World Health Organisation’s guiding principles.

He said it was important to safeguard the health and welfare of a living donor in their bid to save another life.

“The living person who donates his or her organ should do so with sincerity and not for commercial reasons as this will give a negative perception to society.”

Furthermore, the WHO’s guiding principles on Human Organ Transplantation and that of the National Organ, Tissue and Cell Transplantation policy prohibit giving and receiving money as well as any other commercial dealings.

Dr Ismail said a living donor could donate his organ only to those within the family or of genetic relationship.

“We also allow living organ donations from husband to wife,” he said, adding that those who wanted to donate organs to unrelated persons needed to get special approval from the ministry.

Dr Ismail reiterated that the ministry would not allow an organ transplant surgery on the grounds of buy-and-sell basis, be it in the public or private sector.

“To give financial incentives with the objective of encouraging members of the public to donate their organs is also in violation of the policy.”

He also said organ donations done on commercial reasons were unacceptable and medically unethical and it was wrong to exploit people in the low-income group to sell their organs for money.

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WHOSE PROSTITUTING FOR BUSINESSMEN SURGEONS? (Part 1)


Dr Jacob George is president and legal adviser to the Consumers Association of Subang and Shah Alam (Cassa)

Worst – when they attempt to lobby and pressure those in policy circles to ‘accommodate their business agenda’ which to me is an unethical business practice!

I am glad that the present leadership at the Ministry of Health is extremely supportive of the Istanbul Declaration and has zero tolerance for the commercialization of organ transplant or Organ Tourism!

Credit must be given to the leadership at the Ministry of Health, in particular, Director General Tan Sri Dato Dr Ismail Merican who has zero tolerance for any form of unethical practices, incompetence and expects compete dedication, professionalism and a doctor-consumer-patient friendly approach! – Dr Jacob George

STOP MEDIA & PRIVATE HOSPITAL PR PROSTITUTING FOR BUSINESSMEN SURGEONS?

I have written on this matter several times after certain mainstream media kept running stories on organ transplant donors and transplantation and got bolder with virtually giving undue publicity to certain businessmen organ transplant advocates!

These attempts took an even vulgar approach when the media is again used to spin and pressure the Ministry of Health to facilitate the attempts by a few businessmen organ transplant advocates to revise present policy to accommodate their vulgar and business intentions on the unsuspecting Malaysian demography and to frustrate the principles of the Istanbul Declaration!

Worst – when they attempt to lobby and pressure those in policy circles to ‘accommodate their business agenda’ which to me is an unethical business practice!

I am happy that the present Minister of Health has become more alert and open to advice from those of us who are public interest custodians and we trust he will reject any attempts by these businessmen organ transplant advocates to operate on Malaysian shore!

It is also a shame and unethical when private public relations firms and private hospital executives (former journalists) attempt to subvert public policy by spinning stories using their former comrades in the media.

This is why I have repeatedly called for a monitoring of certain news in the media, the behavior of certain reporters and journalists who repeatedly abuse their position!

We are aware that this is because there is first widespread shortage of organs and secondly with increasing ease of Internet communication, organ trafficking and transplant tourism have become global problems assisted by predator and businessmen organ transplant advocates!

As such an estimated 10% of organ transplants that are performed annually around the world are a result of this clandestine move.

As far as I am concerned – Organ trafficking, transplant tourism and transplant commercialism threaten to undermine the nobility and legacy of transplantation worldwide because of the reality associated with these practices – the vulnerable in resource-poor countries (such as the illiterate and impoverished, undocumented immigrants, prisoners, and political or economic refugees) are exploited for their organs as a major source of organs for the rich patient-tourists who are prepared to travel and can afford to purchase organs assisted by media savvy predator businessmen organ transplant advocates!

As a result – these unethical practices were the subject of a Summit convened in Istanbul from 30 April 30 to 1 May 2008 by The Transplantation Society (TTS) and the International Society of Nephrology (ISN).

The result of these deliberations was the Istanbul Declaration on Organ Trafficking and Transplant Tourism.

The development of the Istanbul Summit and Declaration was derived from a direction by the World Health Assembly in 2004 as it adopted resolution WHA57.18 urging member states ‘to take measures to protect the poorest and vulnerable groups from transplant tourism and the sale of tissues and organs, including attention to the wider problem of international trafficking in human tissues and organs.’

It is time we also looked seriously at the players and the private hospitals associated directly, indirectly or by proxy which violates the declaration.

I am glad that the present leadership at the Ministry of Health is extremely supportive of the Istanbul Declaration and has zero tolerance for the commercialization of organ transplants or Organ Tourism!


Credit must be given to the leadership at the ministry of Health, in particular, Director General Tan Sri Dato Dr Ismail Merican (above left) who has zero tolerance for any form of unethical practices, incompetence and expects compete dedication, professionalism and a doctor-consumer-patient friendly approach!

And what happens elsewhere in the world?

* In most countries, organs cannot be refused or requested based on religion, ethnicity, gender or age. Britain and New Zealand have just released guidelines on this.

* Most of Europe follows a system where a deceased person is assumed to be in favor of donation. But family members are consulted on the person’s wishes.

* In New Zealand, the deceased is assumed to be against donation. There has to be evidence that the person wanted to be a donor.

* Some states in the United States are considering incentives for organ donors, such as payment towards funeral expenses or lost wages for live donors.  I am against this as it will lead to abuse!

* In China, it is claimed about 90 per cent of organ donations are sourced from executed prisoners. This to me is a classic example of a vulgar situation – period!

* Iran is the only country that legally allows the sale of kidneys directly from one person to another which is a shame!

* In Israel there is a shortage of organ donors because of religious objection by some rabbi who oppose all organ donations. But this does not stop the illegal and unethical vulgar organ trade! The victims usually the poor and in many cases Palestinians?

* Muslim law allows organ transplants where it is necessary to save life. It is not condoned where the quality of life of the donor is compromised.

* A human kidney has been reported to cost as little as $2000 in Manila.

* Operations cost about $15,000 in Latin America and about $140,000 in the US.

* I am advised that the cost of certain organ transplants that includes liver by businessmen organ transplant advocates can be anything from RM350 to RM500 thousand! There are no guarantees that there will be no complications or that the said recipient will not die post surgery either!

As far as the businessmen organ transplant advocate is concerned they laugh all the way to their banks!

And those who care are those individuals and groups who are advocates of the Istanbul Declaration which includes this writer!

 

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