Kidney Theft: Urban Legend No More


It's an urban legend no more. The Washington Post reports that a stolen kidney-for-transplant racket was been broken up in India. To wit:

Three weeks ago, Mohammad Saleem, 33, agreed to work at a construction site in this bustling city near New Delhi. A house painter with an extended family of eight, he was drawn here by the promise of an extra dollar in his daily wage. After a few days of waiting in a blue-and-white bungalow for work to begin, Saleem said, he was forcibly anesthetized by two masked men.

"When I woke up after several hours, I felt a pain in my right side," Saleem recalled, sitting on a metal cot in a city hospital ward. "The men said, 'We have removed your kidney, and you better not breathe a word about it.' My life broke into pieces when I heard that."

I told you so. If legal organ markets with enforceable contracts are not permitted then organ bootlegging is inevitable. To wit:

Until medical science comes up with new ways to ease the growing shortage of transplantable organs, making the current voluntary black market into a white market with legally enforceable contracts could well forestall the development of an involuntary black market in organs. That would be win/win for us all.

reason has long been in favor of transplant organ markets. Why? Among other reasons, because few of us are as generous as former reason editor Virginia Postrel who donated a kidney in 2006.

Whole Post article here.

Addendum: For a nice take on how organ bootlegging might work, check out the superb 2002 movie "Dirty Pretty Things."