Il­le­gal over­seas or­gan trans­plants to be pun­ished

The China Post - - LOCAL - BY SUN HSIN- HSUAN

Pa­tients re­ceiv­ing il­le­gal or­gan trans­plants over­seas will be fac­ing a max­i­mum of five years in pri­son and a NT$300,000 fine if amend­ments to the Hu­man Or­gan Trans­plan­ta­tion Act pass the Leg­isla­tive Yuan, which is likely to hap­pen, ac­cord­ing to leg­is­la­tors. Ac­cord­ing to Po-chang Lee (

), chair­man of Tai­wan Or­gan Reg­istry and Shar­ing Cen­ter ( TWRSC, ), Tai­wanese pa­tients still par­tic­i­pate in or­gan trad­ing in main­land China, which per­mits or­gan traf­fick­ing. Law­mak­ers aim to curb this bru­tal act by mak­ing it a crime at home.

In May, amend­ments to the Hu­man Or­gan Trans­plan­ta­tion Act were pro­posed, in­tro­duc­ing new as­pects to the act. Firstly, those un­der­tak­ing or­gan trades and trans­plants ar­ranged over­seas will face crim­i­nal pun­ish­ment when pa­tients re­turn to the na­tion.

Se­condly, reg­u­la­tions will make it il­le­gal for or­gans from crim­i­nals sen­tenced to death to be used in pa­tients.

Ac­cord­ing to Chen, the con­tro­ver­sial is­sue lies within the di­ag­no­sis of brain death. Crim­i­nal law al­lows foren­sic sci­en­tists only 20 min­utes in the ex­e­cu­tion cham­ber to de­ter­mine brain death, Chen said.

Un­der such cir­cum­stances, crim­i­nals may be cer­ti­fied as brain dead pre­ma­turely and med­i­cal teams may con­se­quently be re­mov­ing or­gans from a living per­son. “Such cases have re­ally hap­pened,” Chen said, adding that it is will be against the law to re­move or­gans from an ex­e­cuted crim­i­nal. More­over, many pro­fes- sional med­i­cal teams have re­fused to con­duct such op­er­a­tions.

The third amend­ment is to man­date of­fi­cials to en­quire whether a per­son is will­ing to do­nate or­gans af­ter death when reis­su­ing driver’s li­censes, ID cards, or Na­tional Health In­sur­ance cards.

Thou­sands Have Died Await­ing Or­gan Trans­plan­ta­tion: TWRSC

Ac­cord­ing to TWRSC, in the past nine years, more than 1,372 pa­tients have died be­fore re­ceiv- ing a match­ing kid­ney, 2,953 pa­tients be­fore re­ceiv­ing a liver, and 514 pa­tients be­fore a match­ing heart trans­plant came to the res­cue.

Fur­ther­more, ac­cord­ing to TWRSC’s re­port so far this year, while 41 pa­tients have suc­cess­fully re­ceived liver trans­plants, an­other 1,170 are still wait­ing; 80 pa­tients have been do­nated a new kid­ney, while an­other 6,586 are still on the wait­ing list.

Leg­is­la­tors said that proac­tively ask­ing adults whether or nor they would agree to or­gan dona- tion is more likely to in­crease the op­por­tu­ni­ties for pa­tients to seek match­ing or­gans, as de­spite many peo­ple be­ing will­ing to do­nate or­gans, they do not know where and how to reg­is­ter their in­tent on of­fi­cial pro­files.

Of­fi­cials of the Min­istry Health and Wel­fare ( MHW,

) said that most amend­ments to the Hu­man Or­gan Trans­plan­ta­tion Act have been agreed to be­tween the rul­ing and the op­po­si­tion party; there­fore they are likely to be passed dur­ing this ses­sion.

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