UCLA: livers for sale!

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25 Responses to “UCLA: livers for sale!”

  1. Anonymous says:

    I have no problem with this.

    How many liver operations for completely destitute people will a million dollars cover? Not trying to be heartless, but organ transplants are not in the Bill of Rights, and neither is the inalienable right to one’s place in line. Just hope that all this harsh media light forces UCLA to put the money to the best use.

  2. ckdxtrhaven says:

    It’s possible this guy had acute liver failure. That means he only had 7 days to live.
    That moves you to the top of the list fast. I’m personally waiting for a liver transplant and it’s annoying to hear about stories like this but there may be stuff behind the scenes that we don’t know about.
    Not that I’m defending this mobster…Just sayin’ getting a transplant has a lot of red tape.

  3. Church says:

    @4 Anonymous, That’s what I was remembering! Thanks.

    • Anonymous says:

      You’re welcome. I actually just read that story today – and I have a tough time believing that it’s not the same incident. But the Post doesn’t mention $1 million, and the blog doesn’t mention that the FBI set it up. I hope the 60 Minutes report at least touched on it – it seems disingenuous not to.

  4. jaytkay says:

    For $1M, are the fava beans and chianti included?

  5. flytch says:

    who benefits should they “buy” your organs? your family do… when you die they are also the ones who are asked to pay for your funeral… your average low end funeral costs are around $10,000.00.. if your organs could pay for your funeral it would help your friends and family!

  6. Zadaz says:

    Honestly this is the way it should be. this really is the ebst for the most people. The good the program can do for $1,000,000.00 is very great. Sure, #2-#200 have to wait just a bit more. But lets face it, what are they doing to help people?

  7. Rob says:

    I’m about halfway through the book the 60 Minutes piece references – Tokyo Vice: An American Reporter On the Police Beat in Japan by Jake Adelstein, and it is excellent.

    btw, ref the health care argument, truth of the matter is that Japan really doesn’t do organ transplants. Which is kind of nuts, but there it is. Adelstein has a general overview of that part of the tale at his site here – http://www.japansubculture.com/2009/10/yakuza-and-livers-and-the-history-of-organ-transplants-in-japan/

    Key quote – “Japan barred organ donations until 1997. Period. Barred. None. Nada. Even from adults who were brain dead! In July 19, 2009 (that’s this year), Japan agreed to allow organ donation for brain dead children.”

    FWIW, my experiences with the Japanese healthcare system have been relly positive. The only hangup I’ve ever had is finding emergency services on a weekend.

  8. csinla says:

    Check out my interview with Jake Adelstein (who originally broke the story and now must live his life under a death threat)

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/christal-smith/jake-adelstein-gaijin-jus_b_343104.html

  9. Emily2000 says:

    If you listened to the FBI agent interviewed on 60 minutes, he said that they issued a special visa to the mobster (who was on an Interpol watch list) to enter the U.S. based on a promise that the mobster would reveal Yakusa connections in the U.S. The mobster didn’t deliver any useful information, so in essence the U.S. got scammed.

    Also, when this story was revealed a couple years ago, UCLA said the surgeon (one of the top transplant surgeons in the U.S.) made 2 trips to Japan to check up on his patient after the transplant. You think this in-demand, busy surgeon gave up several days of work for nothing? You can bet his pockets were lined too.

  10. Church says:

    Didn’t this happen years ago? Or was that a different Japanese mobster? (I seem to remember the US Govt being involved for some reason.)

  11. Brainspore says:

    To be fair, he was the one who ordered the hit on the donor in the first place so he really should get first dibs.

  12. se7a7n7 says:

    You see, we have people who will to pay a million dollars to go to an American hospital.

    That’s proof that we already have the best Health Care System in the World and don’t need any Communist/Socialist/death panel/hippie Health Care reform.

    • AirPillo says:

      You see, we have people who will to pay a million dollars to go to an American hospital.

      That’s proof that we already have the best Health Care System in the World and don’t need any Communist/Socialist/death panel/hippie Health Care reform.

      Or maybe he knew this facility was corrupt enough that $1 million would let him skip to the head of a donor line?

      A Japanese person coming to the US to get healthcare because of higher quality would be like an american going to Mexico for healthcare, for “higher quality”. It would be hilarious. (Americans do go to Mexico regularly for cheaper procedures, though. It is sometimes cheaper to pay for travel expenses and pay out of pocket for the procedure than it is to have the procedure here and pay whatever your insurance makes you pay. That says a lot.)

      Japan’s healthcare system is excellent, more-so than our own.

      Jingoism is bad.

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      You see, we have people who will to pay a million dollars to go to an American hospital.

      In reality, there are many countries where donating organs at death is culturally or religiously taboo.

  13. Anonymous says:

    It’s not just one yakuza who jumped the line at UCLA. It was four. One of them, Takeshita Saburo, during his younger years as a loan shark used to threaten deadbeats by saying, “Bring out your daughter so I can cut off her face.” A really nice guy.

  14. Anonymous says:

    According to this Washington Post article, it was a trade for information on the Yakuza, done with the FBI, necessary because the Japanese Government delivers so little useful intel.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/05/09/AR2008050902544.html

    Kind of puts a different spin on the implication that organs are for sale at UCLA if you’re rich/corrupt that the headline is going for, even though the mobster did buy a liver.

  15. billy_ran_away says:

    This is exactly why selling one’s own organs should be legal. The privileged find a way around the limitations, and the poor still get screwed. One need only look at the failed prohibition on drugs and alcohol to realize just because something is illegal doesn’t mean no one is going to do it.

    Some may find it repulsive that someone would benefit from buying someone’s liver or kidney, but the doctor’s, the nurses, the hospital, and the recipient all benefit greatly from the process, why not the donor too? Further reading here and here, and further viewing here.

    • grimc says:

      The thing is, once you legalize selling organs you pretty much ensure that the only way to get one will be by buying one, and that just ain’t right. Not to mention the types of assholes that will be drawn by the profit incentive (they’re currently employed by health insurance companies, investment houses and mortgage brokerages).

      • billy_ran_away says:

        The thing is, once you legalize selling organs you pretty much ensure that the only way to get one will be by buying one, and that just ain’t right. Not to mention the types of assholes that will be drawn by the profit incentive (they’re currently employed by health insurance companies, investment houses and mortgage brokerages).

        The thing is, once you legalize selling anything you pretty much ensure that the only way to get one of anything will be by buying one of anything, and that just ain’t right. Not to mention the types of assholes that will be drawn by the profit incentive (they’re currently employed by health insurance companies, investment houses and mortgage brokerages).

        Organs are a commodity like anything else, not sure what makes them special or different from any other medical supply, or really anything else in this world.

    • Brainspore says:

      @billy:

      I’m not entirely clear how anyone could benefit from selling their own liver. Their heirs, maybe… but in most cases it’s impossible to know who is going to die under the right circumstances to become a heart or liver donor until it’s too late for the original owner to collect a down payment.

      Kidneys, I can at least imagine how that would work.

  16. fastspinecho says:

    First of all, the mobster donated $100,000 to UCLA, not $1 million.

    More importantly, he donated the money _after_ his transplant, not before. I find it hard to imagine there was a quid pro quo. The transplant program could be shut down for that, and $100K is peanuts from their perspective. They probably charge more for a single operation – why take the risk?

  17. Anonymous says:

    Not much different than Steve Jobs putting himself on every transplant list in the country, so that we could have increased chances of getting a liver. If you can fly yourself out to where the organ is quick enough, you just have to get on the shortest list. Not something most people have the finances to do. There should probably be a national list for a reason.

  18. John Napsterista says:

    Or he could’ve gone to Memphis and bought a mansion, just like Steve Jobs:

    http://exiledonline.com/memphis-where-the-oligarchs-eat-their-fellow-americans/

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