Friday, January 7, 2011

Legalise sale of human organs to end 'transplant tourism', say surgeons

Daily Mail
January 6, 2011

Leading surgeons have called on the Government to consider legalising the sale of human organs for transplants.

People can currently donate organs such as a kidney while still alive but cannot make money from them. They also can't decide who the organs go to.

Many doctors, such as Professor Nadey Hakim, think this policy should be urgently reconsidered.

Professor Hakim, a Harley Street surgeon, believes a regulated market would stop desperate sick people from travelling abroad to buy organs on the black market.

He said this 'transplant tourism' can lead to botched operations and patients often require further surgery when they return to the UK.

More than 10,000 people in the UK currently need a transplant. Of these, 1000 each year - the equivalent of three a day - will die waiting as there are not enough organs available.

Professor John Harris, of Manchester University, supports a debate of the issue and has developed proposals for an 'ethical market.'

Under his plan, the NHS would be the sole supplier of organs. Consent would be required and checks would be made to make sure the donor wasn't under any pressure.

'Being paid doesn't nullify altruism,' he told The Independent.

'Doctors aren't less caring because they are paid. With the current system everyone gets paid except the donor.'