Bootleggers, Baptists, Body parts
If you're not allowed to sell yourself, others just may steal you--or parts of you. It's another "Bootlegger and Baptist" tale. The Baptists are the medical ethicists and foundation leaders who oppose markets in body parts.
Kidney donor Virginia Postrel:
When the National Kidney Foundation heard about the [American Enterprise Institute conference on incentive-based organ transplant reforms], its chief executive, John Davis, complained to the institute's president, "We don't see how an AEI forum would contribute substantively to debate on this issue."
Davis' group adamantly opposes donor compensation, lobbying against even experimental programs and small tax credits. It's as though the National Parkinson Foundation opposed stem cell research, or thought researchers should work for free.
Meet some bootleggers:
PHILADELPHIA (AP) - A nurse admitted Wednesday he cut body parts from 244 corpses and helped forge paperwork so the parts, some of them diseased, could be used in unsuspecting patients.
Authorities say nurse Lee Cruceta was the lead cutter in a group that trafficked in more than 1,000 stolen body parts for the lucrative transplant market.
His lawyer, Mario Gallucci, earlier told The Associated Press that [accused ringleader Michael] Mastromarino plans to tell prosecutors about the companies that bought the stolen specimens.
Mastromarino, a former oral surgeon, paid funeral directors $1,000 per corpse, then sold the parts to tissue banks, Sagel said. The body parts fetched up to $10,000 apiece, though the tissue banks resold them to hospitals for many times that amount, he said.
Prosecutors believe Mastromarino, employing several teams of cutters, took in $6 million to $12 million since 2001.
Some unsurprising black-market maneuvering:
A grand jury in Philadelphia found that the body-parts ring forged death certificates to hide diseases such as cancer and AIDS and lower the ages of the deceased to make the stolen specimens more desirable.
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