2 Indonesians who were involved in the recently publicised kidney-for-sale racket had been officially charged, jailed and fined. While the news seemed a little hazy, but this has implications on sale of organs. Mr Wang Says So (yes, my fellow competitor in the OMY.SG blog awards) provided a rather in-depth personal perspective (despite him being really humble about it) on this issue a few days ago – on whether organ sale should be legalised.

Personally, I feel that organ sale is already taking place when Singaporeans travel to other countries to get their organs transplanted – although I understand that there’s a fair bit of hassle which may be easily circumvented. The repercussions of this is of course on the “quality” of the transplant, and if there is any high risk of the receiver getting secondary infections from the operation. The other issue is of course care of the donor after the operation has taken place – which the receiver will usually take care of as part of a “package”.

As the surgery takes place overseas, Singapore may totally displace itself from the equation by stating that it is happening out of its jurisdiction. The next question that comes to mind is whether organ sale only for the rich? Outright, it does seem to be the case; and if such sale were to be legit, then does this affect the number of willing donors now that the latter know that they can possibly fetch a handsome sum?

It’s a Pandora’s Box.  I feel that Singapore is currently not ready to move into organ sale because of the various implications that will surface. Remember that there’s a Singapore Human Organs Transplant Act (HOTA) where Singaporeans have to opt out if they are unwilling to have their organs harvested upon death? If organ sale is legit, then will we end up having more people opting out of HOTA – resulting in a possible reduction in donors upon death and possibly an auction-style sale of their organs in times of monetary need?

While I agree with Mr Wang Says So to a certain extent that regulation may be a good solution (just like prostitution and gambling), what we should be looking into should be the overall effects that legalised organ sale will bring about, rather than just regulating the sale and possibly restricting organ receipt to only the rich and influential. Thus, I may support organ sale, but only if the welfare of the poor (on the organ receipt waiting list) can be looked into at the same time. Only through such means will opportunities be present for both the rich and poor.

Of course, this is just a broad perspective of things. Like Mr Wang Says So, there are many fine points that have to be looked into for a holistic solution.

Kidney-for-sale racket : Indon duo jailed and fined

By Elena Chong, Courts Correspondent

TWO Indonesian men who are the first to be prosecuted for a kidney-for-sale case were jailed and fined on Thursday.

Sulaiman Damanik, 26, who had earlier admitted to entering into an arrangement with Wang Chin Sing to sell his kidney to CK Tang’s executive chairman Tang Wee Sung for about 150 million rupiah (S$23,700) last month, was jailed for two weeks and fined $1,000.

He also admitted to falsely declaring that no money was paid and that Mr Tang’s niece’s brother-in-law married his aunt.

The operation did not go through as the authorities stepped in after the transplant ethics committee had approved the application for a live kidney transplant based on the false information given.

The other Indonesian, Toni, 27, who acted as a liaison man between Sulaiman and Mr Tang, was jailed three months and two weeks, and also fined $2,000.

His kidney was successfully transplanted into Ms Juliana Soh who paid him 186 million rupiah (S$29,390) in March.

He was to have been paid 20 million rupiah (about S$3,200) for being a ‘runner’ if Sulaiman’s operation was successful.

The other two offences he pleaded guilty to were for selling his kidney to Ms Soh and making a false statutory declaration that no money was paid and that Ms Soh was his adopted mother.

Source: Straits Times Interactive, http://www.straitstimes.com/Latest%2BNews/Courts%2Band%2BCrime/STIStory_254226.html

Article extracted on 3rd July 2008



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