Wednesday, 29 June 2022
Jacob Lavee and Matthew P. Robertson have a grim piece in Tablet on involuntary Chinese organ donors.
China’s Killer Doctors
How the PRC’s lucrative transplant industry kills donors by removing their organs
In November 2005, during morning rounds in the cardiac intensive care unit at the Sheba Medical Center in Tel Aviv, one of the authors, Jay Lavee, was stunned to have the following exchange with a patient suffering advanced heart failure:
“Doc, I’m fed up waiting here for nearly a year now while you guys find a heart donor. My insurance company told me to fly to China—they’ve already scheduled a heart transplant in two weeks.”
After processing what he’d heard, Jay responded: “Do you hear yourself? How can anyone promise you a donor heart on a specific date ahead of time? You understand that somebody must die on the very same day that you will undergo this surgery, don’t you?”
The patient: “I don’t know, Doc. That’s just what I was told.”
This kind of story is not new of course, but the whole piece is well worth reading. It describes a detailed analysis of an enormous number of Chinese-language clinical case reports and what was implied in a significant number of them.
Authors of paper 0173 write: “Before the chest is opened, 100mg of heparin is injected and the mask is pressurized to give oxygen to assist breathing.” Another, paper 0463: “After the donor is confirmed brain dead, 4 cases of tracheal intubation, 3 cases of mask oxygenation, quickly establish artificial respiration, rapid median thoracic dissection …”
Why is this detail so key? Brain death requires that the donor is unable to breathe by themselves. An oxygen mask—as the papers unambiguously attest, using the Chinese term 面罩—means that they must have been able to breathe. In other words, they were alive and breathing as the surgeons cut their hearts out.