02/02/2016, 12.42
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Jakarta uncovers illegal trade in kidneys in hospitals

by Mathias Hariyadi

Public and private structures involved. People in economic difficulty are convinced to "donate" their organs with generous offers of money. The beneficiaries are wealthy foreigners. Hunt on for corrupt doctors.


Jakarta (AsiaNews) - A series of arrests made by police in recent days has focused authorities’ attention on the illegal trade in organs, in particular kidneys, involving unscrupulous businessmen, doctors of renowned hospitals and poor people in search of money. Three people were arrested in Garut in West Java province, for having led some needy to "donate" their kidney.

According to investigators, three hospitals in Jakarta (both public and private) perform illegal kidney transplants, but the names of the facilities are not being disclosed. The beneficiaries of the operations are Indonesian citizens and foreigners.

The last transplant illegal discovered by the authorities was traced back to August 2015. Masked as a normal operation, according to the police the "donation" was induced. The donor was rewarded, on paper, with 75 million rupees (5 thousand dollars), but the agents suspect that in reality the sum is much higher: an offer that a person in financial difficulty could not refuse.

The police discovered before the operation, the wife of the donor had expressed her opposition. One of the suspects later convinced her, saying that he himself was a kidney donor and was still healthy.

The illegal trade in kidneys was first brought to the attention of Indonesian authorities as early as June 2015, when an inmate of the prison of Garut was hospitalized for continuous intestinal pains. Brought to the doctor, the man confessed to having sold his kidney for 90 million rupees.

Another victim is Sofyan, an 18 year old youth and father of a child, living in Bandung, West Java. Because of financial difficulty, he sold his kidney for 75 million rupees.

CH Soejono, head of the Cipto Mangunkusumo Hospital in Jakarta (the largest hospital in the state capital), explains that there are very clear legal procedures and protocols that regulate kidney transplants: "If something irregular is found in the donor or the recipient, the operation is immediately suspended. "

Furthermore, explains CH Soejono, to prevent the donor being forced or pushed to transplant with illegal methods, "a specialist psychiatrist must conduct intensive discussions to better understand the motivations of the transplant: the legal aspects and perspectives of mental health." A transplant done according to the law will cost at least 300 million rupees.

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