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Russian Surgeons Removing Organs Saying Patients Almost Dead Anyways

MOSCOW, September 9, 2003 ( - Organ donation is causing more and more ethicists to worry about abuses. Ten years ago rumours circulated that homeless people in Brazil were being used as involuntary organ farms, but the stories were difficult to substantiate. More recently debates over the exact nature of "brain death" have highlighted the very real dangers of exploiting vulnerable patients in the effort to provide organs in what has become an extremely lucrative trade.

The Courier Mail reports that surgeons in Russia are removing kidneys from homeless people in illegal organ-harvesting operations. The spare parts are worth as much as $40,000 US each. Speaking anonymously one of the surgeons said that in general the donors "are done for anyway, maybe they could live another three or four days."

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