Netcare admits 'cash for kidney' transplants

LazyLion

King of de Jungle
Joined
Mar 17, 2005
Messages
104,612
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/nov/10/south-africa-hospital-organ-trafficking

South Africa's biggest private hospital group has admitted receiving R3.8m (£342,000) from an illegal organ trafficking syndicate in a scam that included the removal of kidneys from five children.

Netcare, which also runs hospitals in Britain, took part in an international scam that allegedly saw poor Brazilians and Romanians paid $6,000 (£3,840) for their kidneys to be transplanted to wealthy Israelis.

At the Durban regional court yesterday, Netcare KwaZulu (NKZ) pleaded guilty on 102 counts relating to illegal operations between June 2001 and November 2003. It was fined R7,820,000 (£704,000).

Police said these included five counts of "unlawfully acquiring and transplanting human kidneys by acquiring kidneys from five minors in law at the time the kidneys were transplanted". Netcare admitted that some of the kidney donors were "minors" but there were no details of the children's ages or nationalities.

The group made a plea bargain in which criminal charges against the parent company, Netcare, and its chief executive, Richard Friedland, were unconditionally withdrawn.

The transplants took place at one of South Africa's top hospitals, Netcare St Augustine's in Durban. In September the Times of South Africa cited a charge sheet that read: "Israeli citizens in need of kidney transplants would be brought to South Africa for transplants at St Augustine's hospital. They paid kidney suppliers for these operations."

Kidneys "were initially sourced from Israeli citizens, but later Romanian and Brazilian citizens were recruited as their kidneys were obtainable at much lower cost than those of the Israeli suppliers."

The charge sheet said documents related to surgeries were forged to make it appear that the recipient and the donor were family members, a requirement of South African law. Israeli kidney suppliers were paid $20,000 while Brazilians and Romanians were paid $6,000, it said.

Colonel Vishnu Naidoo, a spokesman for the South African police service, was today unable to confirm these details, but said he was aware of "at least one Israeli" recipient and a number of donors from South America. Naidoo added: "It has emerged that the conviction of a hospital in respect of human tissue cases such as this one may be the first conviction in the world. Law enforcement agencies around the world have already started to take these matters seriously."

In court yesterday, NKZ was fined R20,000 for contravening the Human Tissues Act by allowing minors to donate kidneys. It received a further R4m fine for receiving money and participating in an illegal kidney transplant scheme. It will also have to pay R3.8m – "the benefit derived by NKZ from the illegal operations" – to South Africa's asset forfeiture unit.

Summonses were served on four surgeons, a doctor, two employees of Netcare and one translator to appear in the Durban regional court on 23 November.

Netcare, which for the past seven years has strongly denied any wrongdoing, issued a statement in which it admitted "criminal activities".

Jerry Vilakazi, chairman of Netcare's board of directors, said: "It became evident to Netcare and its legal counsel that certain employees of NKZ must have been aware that some kidney donors were not related to kidney recipients, that payments must have been made to the donors for their kidneys and that certain of the kidney donors were minors at the time that their kidneys were removed."

A Netcare statement said: "Dr Friedland commented that none of the employees who had participated in the criminal activities were still in the employ of Netcare or NKZ. Dr Friedland pointed out that the employees concerned had not only contravened the law but they had also disregarded Netcare's own internal policies, which expressly stipulated that ministerial permission in cases of transplants between non-related persons was to be obtained and that donations could only be done for altruistic purposes."

It added: "The last of the illegal operations was performed at the end of 2003. Since then Netcare and its subsidiaries have devoted considerable time and attention to ensuring that the law, the guidelines issued by the Department of Health and Netcare's own internal guidelines are meticulously adhered to and enforced in order to ensure that the conduct of deviant employees does not again cause harm to Netcare and its stakeholders."

Wow, this is pretty sick... and the punishment given out is nowhere near commensurate.
 

marine1

Honorary Master
Joined
Sep 4, 2006
Messages
49,070
And it took these animals 7 years to finally admit it?
In China, the CEO would have been executed :mad:
 

Shake&Bake

Party Liaison
Joined
Jan 19, 2007
Messages
22,165
Really just feeling sick while reading that article and the punishment means absolutely nothing. It's pittance and money is not the punishment that should be dealt out in this regard.
The decision basically gives these syndicates the green light to go ahead with their operation, as this sets a precedent for any future cases that may arise.
The judge should have stepped in and told the prosecution to FO and that he'd sentence the guilty appropriately.

No one has taken responsibility for this, only a cheque that's being signed which won't even dent their bottom line.
What message does this "sentencing" send out to the international arena?
 

GuileX

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 18, 2008
Messages
834
I think the best thing for us to do is "word of mouth" make people aware of netcares agenda so that people wont choose netcare for their next visit to a hospital.

I wont.
 

ToAsTeD

Expert Member
Joined
Oct 11, 2005
Messages
2,112
I think the best thing for us to do is "word of mouth" make people aware of netcares agenda so that people wont choose netcare for their next visit to a hospital.

I wont.
+1
have to agree
 

Knyro

PhD in Everything
Joined
Jul 5, 2010
Messages
29,491
This is sick. All doctors that were involved should have their medical licences revoked
 

TheHiveMind

Banned
Joined
Jul 25, 2008
Messages
5,073
Hospitals don't employ doctors, they employ nurses.

It is why when you go to a private hospital, you receive atleast two seperate bills. One for using the hospital groups facilities and staff. The others are for the doctor(s).
 

Knyro

PhD in Everything
Joined
Jul 5, 2010
Messages
29,491
Hospitals don't employ doctors, they employ nurses.

It is why when you go to a private hospital, you receive atleast two seperate bills. One for using the hospital groups facilities and staff. The others are for the doctor(s).

What does this have to do with anything? :wtf:
 

analogsa

Active Member
Joined
Jun 6, 2008
Messages
75
Could someone of the "disgusted" explain exactly what is so disgusting? Is it not a willing buyer - willing seller transaction? Does it not save lives? Quite clearly some people desparately need a new kidney while others need a new horse. So doctors make some money, so what? I would rather have my kidney transplant done at a decent hospital rather than in someone's basement.
 

D34M0n7

Executive Member
Joined
Apr 7, 2008
Messages
6,680
Its not that bad.

People needed kidneys -> Others needed money.

They made a trade, kidneys for cash.

As long as everyone had given consent then theres really no issue.
 

TheHiveMind

Banned
Joined
Jul 25, 2008
Messages
5,073
And it took these animals 7 years to finally admit it?
In China, the CEO would have been executed :mad:

Is it illegal in China? The state harvests organs from criminals that are executed without permission or payment doesn't it?

Is it not a willing buyer - willing seller transaction? Does it not save lives? Quite clearly some people desparately need a new kidney

True.
 
Last edited:
F

Fudzy

Guest
Its not that bad.

People needed kidneys -> Others needed money.

They made a trade, kidneys for cash.

As long as everyone had given consent then theres really no issue.

I think its sad that it's only foreigners who get to benefit from the exchange though.
 

Knyro

PhD in Everything
Joined
Jul 5, 2010
Messages
29,491
So the doctors should be charged, and netcare should sue everyone who abused their facilities and code of ethics.

Agreed but,

A Netcare statement said: "Dr Friedland commented that none of the employees who had participated in the criminal activities were still in the employ of Netcare or NKZ. Dr Friedland pointed out that the employees concerned had not only contravened the law but they had also disregarded Netcare's own internal policies

So it looks like Netcare wasn't so sqeaky clean either
 
Top