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Aug 11 2012

Ok, Maybe Not The Best Way To Get An IPad

An update on an earlier post, reporting on a 17 year old who sold his kidney for an iPad.

Nine people went on trial in southern China over allegations they helped a teenager to sell one of his kidneys so he could buy an iPhone and an iPad, a court in Hunan Province said Friday.
Prosecutors said in court Thursday that the nine people “should be held criminally liable for intentional injury,” the court in the province’s Beihu District said in a statement Friday.
The 17-year-old high school student from Anhui Province — who was referred to only by his surname, Wang — suffered renal failure after the kidney was removed in April 2011, according Xinhua.

Won’t you listen to my story
Cos it won’t take very long
It’s a tale about a Chinese boy,
Whose name was Little Zheng

Just a boy like any other
And he liked the latest stuff
But it costs a lot of money
And he didn’t have enough

So he thought about his problem
But he didn’t have a clue
Till he saw a notice posted
And he knew what he must do

If you’re feeling some frustration with your current situation
Here’s a little operation, if your conscience will allow
It’s a serious incision, but it’s done with great precision
It’s the rational decision if you want your money now

Little Zheng, he called the number
And they told him where to go
But he had to keep it secret—
It’s illegal, don’t you know

But he really needed money
Cos an iPad costs a lot
And a kidney was the only
Thing of value that he’s got

So he signed away his organ
And he vanquished any doubt
And they gassed him up, and laid him down
And cut the sucker out

If you’re feeling some frustration with your current situation
Here’s a little operation, if your conscience will allow
It’s a serious incision, but it’s done with great precision
It’s the rational decision if you want your money now

It’s a gory little story
But this isn’t where it ends
See, he got a lot of stitches
But he couldn’t show his friends

He devised a bit of fiction
But it wouldn’t get him far
And his mother got suspicious
So he had so show his scar

Now his story’s hit the big time
So I’ll make this guarantee
That this tale of Little Zheng’s is
Not the last one that we’ll see

If you’re feeling some frustration with your current situation
Here’s a little operation, if your conscience will allow
It’s a serious incision, but it’s done with great precision
It’s the rational decision if you want your money now

Still in the land of not much internet. Behave.

13 comments

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  1. 1
    Trebuchet

    At least it was voluntary and he got something for it. China’s been repeatedly accused of selling organs from executed prisoners, even to the extent of scheduling executions for the convenience of the surgeons.

  2. 2
    starskeptic

    Sure, yeah – it being voluntary is like painting a happy face on the whole event…

  3. 3
    grumpyoldfart

    At the link the article says:

    For the loss of his kidney, Wang allegedly received 22,000 yuan. After he got home, his mother asked him where he had got the money for the Apple products. At that point, he told her had sold his kidney, Xinhua reported.

    How does that work? He popped into the hospital one day, went under the anesthetic, had the operation, woke up, collected his money, went down the shops to buy his ipod, and then toddled off home where he got sprung by his mother!
    `

  4. 4
    Miss Stabby

    I can’t help but read the refrain to the tune of Gypsy Bard

  5. 5
    left0ver1under

    Transplant tourism is obscene. Those who travel and buy organs overseas should be prosecuted in the same way people are prosecuted for child sex while overseas. The poor in the world exist for the benefit of their own lives, not for the benefit of the rich. And they do not have “spare organs”, humans are evolved to need them all.

    China murders political prisoners on spec to sell for profit to rich foreigners, arguably the worst human rights abuse of all. That may not be what happened to the teen in question, but it happens with regularity. And in India, a doctor murdered homeless children for organs to sell.

    “The Island” was a distopia movie, a situation to be avoided, not a utopia to be aspired to.

  6. 6
    Gretchen

    And they do not have “spare organs”, humans are evolved to need them all.

    So should donating a kidney to a relative or other loved one be outlawed? Is that as bad as having sex with a child too?

  7. 7
    opposablethumbs

    Gretchen, don’t be deliberately obtuse. There is a world of difference between voluntarily sacrificing something you need because someone you love will die without it, and having your poverty, hopelessness and/or ignorance/ill-informed foolishness deliberately exploited for profit by a bunch of racketeers.

    Or do you think the comfortably-off are in the habit of selling their organs?

    I’m not sure what the commenting policy is here so I’ll err on the side of caution … but FSM am I tempted to employ Pharyngulan language here.

  8. 8
    Gretchen

    Use whatever language you like; my point was simply that the objection to people selling organs is generally not on the grounds that there is no legitimate reason to part with an organ, but rather that people frown on money being the reason to part with an organ. Love is okay; money is not.

    Of course the comfortably-off are not in the habit of selling their organs– they’re not in the habit of doing anything difficult, painful, or health/dignity-compromising for money, because they don’t have to. But it seems to me that if you wouldn’t object to a wealthy person donating a kidney for love, you especially shouldn’t object to a poor person selling one for money, since you can’t buy food and other necessities with love.

    Generally speaking I don’t care much for people who declare that you can give something away but not sell it, or perform a service for free but not for compensation. If it’s really that injurious, then the exchange of cash isn’t the concern– just ban it altogether. If you’re not willing to do that, then let people give/perform these things on their own terms.

  9. 9
    OurSally

    If I was very poor I would sell a kidney. No problem. Shame you can only do it once. I carry a donor card, so both will be harvested some day.

    I don’t like the idea of some organisation earning huge amounts by this. The Red Cross in Germany earn lots by dealing in donated blood. I still donate, but the spouse gives this as his reason for not doing it.

    I gather in USA people can get money for donating blood in some places.

  10. 10
    BecomingJulie

    The only way to prevent this sort of thing is to reduce the value of human organs to £0. That means, when someone dies, their organs should be harvested as a matter of course.

    Living human beings have rights — pieces of meat don’t. Deal with it.

  11. 11
    left0ver1under

    opposablethumbs says:

    Gretchen, don’t be deliberately obtuse. There is a world of difference between voluntarily sacrificing something you need because someone you love will die without it, and having your poverty, hopelessness and/or ignorance/ill-informed foolishness deliberately exploited for profit by a bunch of racketeers.

    Or do you think the comfortably-off are in the habit of selling their organs?

    I’m glad to see someone gets the point. Gretchen is either ignorant of what transplant tourism is and the effect of giving up an organ, or she sees the poor as not deserving the same right to live or personal security as the rich.

    What people don’t realize when they sell their organs is that their body may not function normally afterward. People who give up kidneys might need medicine for the rest of their lives to maintain their health, and if they are poor, they’re not going to get it, regardless of whether they live in a poor country or one with a cut-throat medical system like the US. The words “pre-existing condition” come to mind.

    There are stories of people left too weak to work anymore and they become a financial burden on their families; financially, the family would be better off if the person selling the organ had died. The short term gain of a few hundred dollars compared to a lifetime of inability to earn money is a fool’s bargain…or rather, it’s the uneducated’s bargain.

    http://www.aakp.org/aakp-library/Transplant-Tourism/

    If I had my way, I’d make two things into law regarding organ donation:

    (1) You can’t be on the organ recipient list unless you’re on the donor list and have been on it for at least two years. Mandatory organ donation is no better than what China does, but selfish hypocrisy shouldn’t be allowed either. If people know they have to sign the card when they’re healthy or they won’t be able to receive when they’re sick, they’ll be more willing to sign it.

    (2) Organs can only be received one of two ways: (a) a domestic organ donation network that is not for profit, or (b) from voluntary donors without coercion. That would end transplant tourism, and relatives in poor countries shouldn’t be coerced into donating to people in wealthy countries.

    There have been cases where parents deliberately had a second child to produce and remove organs for the benefit of a sick first child, the organs taken without the younger child’s consent, or coercion to get the “consent” (“You don’t love us!” “We brought you into this world!”). And what if the “donor” child refuses to give up an organ and compromise his/her health? Is the younger child really selfish?

  12. 12
    Pete

    Anyone else read that in Frank Zappa’s voice?

  13. 13
    JustaTech

    In the US you may be paid to donate blood, but I believe it is only for research. I know my company pays quite a bit for speciality blood donations for research. I don’t feel bad about it because, frankly, you blood grows back, and generally there are rules about how often you can ‘donate’ so people don’t get sick. But I’m fairly certian that blood is the only ‘body part’ you can be paid for in the US (surrogates being another very grey area).

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