James Estrin/The New York Times
Thomas Diflo, a doctor in New York, gives after-transplant care to patients
who received organs in China from executed prisoners. Though he believes such
transplants are morally wrong, Dr. Diflo says doctors must provide care no
matter what their patients have done.
<A HREF="http://www.nytimes.com/2001/10/18/international/asia/18ORGA.html">China: On Death Row, China's Source of Transplants</A> (October 18, 2001)
<<HANGHAI, Nov. 8 — Three years ago, in New York, one of Dr. Thomas Diflo's
patients on a long waiting list for a kidney transplant showed up with a new
problem: she no longer needed a kidney, but suddenly needed after-transplant
"She had just returned from a trip to China and, to my surprise, had
undergone a transplant while she was there," said Dr. Diflo, of New York
University Medical Center, where he is director of kidney transplants.
The woman, a Chinese-American, was vague about where the kidney had come
from, but others who have come to Dr. Diflo for treatment have been more
forthcoming, confiding that they got the organs of executed Chinese
Kidneys, livers, corneas and other body parts from these prisoners are being
transplanted into American citizens or permanent residents who otherwise
would have to wait years for organs. Many of the patients come back to the
United States for follow-up care, which Medicaid or other government programs
The transplants in China, which doctors in both countries say are increasing,
has presented the American medical establishment with an ethical quandary:
Should American doctors treat patients who have received organs from executed
prisoners and, if so, would they be tacitly condoning the practice and
encouraging more such transplants.
Or should they rebuke patients who, in desperation, participate in a process
that mainstream transplant advocates condemn as morally wrong?
"That's a decision that has to be made by each individual physician," said
Dr. Thomas McCune, a transplant physician in Norfolk, Va., and chairman of
the patient care and education committee of the American Society of
This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Sat May 11 2002 - 17:44:18 MDT