Sunday, February 25, 2007
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Home > World | Topic: Organ Harvesting in China
Are Canadian Taxes Paying for Stolen Organs?
By Matthew Little
Epoch Times Victoria Staff Feb 09, 2007
A reenactment of an organ harvesting surgery (The Epoch Times)
- Chinese Officials Still Killing Falun Gong for Organs, Report Says Thursday, February 01, 2007
- Chinese Regime Admits To Organ Harvesting From Prisoners Wednesday, January 24, 2007
- Report into Allegations of Organ Harvesting of Falun Gong Practitioners in China Friday, July 07, 2006
- David Kilgour: Is Peace Just Wishful Thinking? Monday, January 15, 2007
- VIPs Call on China to Allow Investigation Into Organ Harvesting Sunday, December 24, 2006
- Despite New Law, Illegal Organ Harvesting Continues in China Saturday, January 27, 2007
- Religious Freedom and Falun Gong in China Saturday, December 09, 2006
Taxpayers could be footing the bill for patients who receive organ transplants from persecuted groups in China, says a recent report.
A revised report on organ harvesting in China entitled "Bloody Harvest" concludes that a major portion of the organs being used in China's booming transplant trade come from unwilling donors, most notably Falun Gong practitioners.
The report, authored by former MP David Kilgour and human rights lawyer David Matas, details how a sudden explosion of organ transplants in China in 2000 coincided with mass arrests and imprisonment of tens of thousands of Falun Gong practitioners.
The report also states that a high proportion of transplant recipients come from countries other than China.
In British Columbia, about 42 people have traveled to China for transplants in the past 5 to 10 years, according to BC Transplant Society spokesperson Ken Donahue. He said BC does not reimburse patients that receive transplants in other countries but they can receive aftercare once they return
One of the recommendations of the report was that Canadian patients who travel to China for organ transplants should not be reimbursed for the cost of their surgery or covered for aftercare until China stops harvesting organs from any prisoner, be they prisoners of conscience or otherwise.
Donohue said that although the implications of the organ harvesting report were disturbing, it was unlikely patients would ever be denied care, whether they got an organ from an unwilling donor or not.
"I'm not saying we're not outraged, of course we are," he said, referring to the findings of the report. Donohue believes that one way to stop Canadians from getting organ transplants in China is for the provinces to outlaw the businesses that facilitate such trips.
With chronic wait lists across the country, some provinces are willing to pay for residents to travel for emergency surgeries. However, if those surgeries are for organ transplants in China, the source of the organs could be Falun Gong practitioners or others killed for their organs.
Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia all have reimbursement policies for people who seek emergency medical services outside the province, say spokespeople for those ministries of health.
Sarah Plank, a spokesperson for the BC Ministry of Health, said British Columbia will send patients to Alberta and Washington for emergency surgeries that are unavailable in BC, but does not send people overseas.
However, she was unsure whether anything in the policy stipulated that patients could not be sent overseas to places like China. Ontario and Alberta also have polices to reimburse out-of-province patients, but spokespeople for neither ministry could confirm the specifics of those policies.
It was uncertain in all three provinces whether their health ministries had any policies to ensure organs were ethically obtained or whether patients were warned of the ethical implications of travelling to China for an organ transplant. In Ontario and BC, the surgery must be approved and applied for by a physician in the province.
The Ontario College of Physicians and Surgeons said it's "not within their mandate" to have doctors warn patients of illicit organ harvesting in China.
Lorne Hollingshead and Auruna Thurairajan own Alberta-based company that arranges for people to go overseas to receive treatments that are difficult to get in Canada because of the long waitlists. While the company used to deal mainly with people seeking hip and knee replacements, Hollingshead said their customers have been looking for a larger variety of treatments in recent years.
He said some have sought organ transplants from hospitals in China. He believes the majority of people travelling to China for organ transplants from Canada would likely be Chinese immigrants who are familiar with that medical system. When asked if he or his wife ever warned patients seeking a transplant in China that there was possibility the organ came from an unwilling donor, he deferred the questions to his wife who is out of the country for two weeks.
Just as pedophiles can be charged in Canada for having sex with children in other countries, the report says Canada should enact similar extra-territorial legislation that would penalize Canadians who participate in organ harvesting without the consent of the donor.
The authors also recommend that doctors from China should not receive visas to enable them to train in organ transplantation surgery in Canada.
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