The law of organs transplantation : Does it turn poor Egyptians to spare parts?”

January 5th, 2010 by Editor

Members of the parliament and human rights activists call for applying the international standards

 At the end of a seminar entitled” The law of  organs transplantation  : Does it  turn poor Egyptians  to spare parts?” which was held by EOHR on Monday 28/12/2009 , the bill of organs transplantation stirred up a wide debate among some representatives of the parliament, law professors and human rights activists as they expressed their fears that the law will be converted  to a door for human trafficking . They considered the law as a new tool to convert  poor to a spare parts for rich people . They called the legislators to apply the international standards.

 Mr. Hafez Abu Seada,  Secretary-General of EOHR expressed his fears that the law will be converted to a back door for  trafficking in human beings ,   the poor will become “spare parts” for the rich. The law will give the right to the investment hospitals to meet the needs of their patients from the organs which are being taken from the public hospitals which treat only the poor. Abu Seada added that what makes the law as a legalization for organs trafficking and convert the poor to a spare parts to the rich is the lack of two aspects:  

 The lack of specialized medical teams who have experience and have the potential scientific diagnosis of brain death, and the distinction between it and a deep coma , and the law give the right to transfer organs in the private hospitals prepared for this purpose from the public hospitals which haven’t the ability to determine the brain death from deep coma.

      Abu Seada indicated  to the growing phenomenon of organs trafficking in the world . According to the international reports,  this trade is considered the third-largest illegal trade in the world after arms and drug smuggling . These reports also confirmed that Egypt is considered a passing state for trafficking in women of Uzbekistan , Moldova, Ukraine and Russia, and other countries in Eastern Europe, while being transported to Israel through the Sinai for sexual exploitation.

  Abu Seada called legislators to take into account standards and regional  and international recommendations concerned with transferring and transplanting human organs  ,

  for example, the European Council in 1987 had stressed to prevent the waiver of any human organs for money . Also the World Medical Association issued a health decision in 1989 which prevent the exploitation of human misery, especially among children and other vulnerable minorities,   and encouraged the application of ethical principles, which condemns the sale of human organs for transplantation. On the regional level, article 2 of the unified Arab law related to human organs transplantation in1986 stated that ” person may donate or recommend one of his organ  of his  body. Donators must  be legally competent  and the donation issued according to  a written permission from the donors.

 Mr. Abdalla Khalil, lawyer at cassation court, called for the need of the bill of human organs transplantation to take into account a set of international principles such as  

 -The inadmissibility of human organ transplantation  whatever the circumstances , states bear the costs of transferring and transplantation ,the legal competency of the donor and protecting minors.

 – Donation should be issued according to a written permission.

 – The inadmissibility  of transferring the main organs in spit of the donor agreement.

 – The secrecy of data for donors and beneficiaries.

 – Informing the donor with risks and consequences of the transplantation

– The admissibility of donors to cancel the process of transplantation at any time without conditions or restrictions .

 – As for transferring organs from dead persons , the dead- during his life – shouldn’t object to donate his organs upon death.

 – Providing the legal safeguards for dead persons.

–  Verifying the death via a medical committee .

– The process of transplantation has to be carried out by a doctor with a license issued by the state.

– The process of transplantation has to be carried out in a medical institutions determined by the state.

 -The inadmissibility of the transfer of organs from injured with infection or cancer diseases.

 – Doctors and all medical professional are prohibited to transfer or transplant  human organs if they suspected that there is a sell or commercial deal related to the process of transplantation, also it is  prohibited to get money from donors or beneficiaries .  

– The prohibition to establish  any commercial institution aims at trafficking in human organs.

 – The donors and beneficiaries have to enjoy with state’s nationality where the process of transplantation will be executed.

-Not to retain any of human organs in any private banks.

Dr. Mahmoud Elmeteny,  Professor of Surgery and Liver Transplantation, Faculty of Medicine, Ain Shams University ,  welcomed the law as he pointed out that the law was so postponed , there are 25% of cases infected with virus C and in a short  need of liver transplant,  and there are some transplants like skins could be taken from dead . So the whole world depends on the dead donor as regarded as the main of the process with 67% . The absence of  law of organs transplantation  led to the emergence of organs trade as there is no deterrent law and, therefore, necessary to enact legislation that is a framework for such operations.   

 Mr.  Mohamed Khalil Quetta, Member of Parliament confirmed that the issue of trafficking in human beings has received considerable attention from the society of Egypt. Egypt State is considered No. 3 in the trade of human organs , the administrative  judiciary  said that Egypt looks like “bondage trade “. In  the most prestigious districts of Cairo Governorate there is a recruitment of clients to trade in human organs.

 Mr. Gamal Al Bana, an Islamic thinker and writer pointed out that if there is no provision in the Qur’an and Al Sunnah for the transplantation of orans , we can go a head to independent opinion . So the issue of organs transplantation is an independent opinion in the first rank.
Mr. Fakhri Mohammed Saleh Othman, former head of Department of Forensic Medicine, Ministry of Justice, expressed  that the problem of the law  is the definition and diagnosis of the death, because doctors who support this diagnosis calling basically that patients of brain death are dead in order to be able to take organs which still fresh , this is incompatible with the terms of criminal and judicial matters . So the true definition is customary stop  of the heart (blood circulation) and the respiratory and nervous system and other organs of the body.

At the conclusion of the seminar, participants recommended the need to establish an independent body consisting of all parties relevant to the application of law, to undertake the task of supervision and inspection of hospitals and specialized medical centers for transplants of human organs, and to propose measures and actions to combat trafficking in human beings, as well as ensure compliance with international standards  , in particular standards and principles of the WHO guidelines on transplanting cells, tissues and organs issued in March 2009,  these guideline principles  are as follows:

-Organs may be removed from the bodies of deceased persons for the purpose of transplantation if:
(a)any consents required by law are obtained; and
(b)there is no reason to believe that the deceased person objected to such removal, in the absence of any formal consent given during the person’s lifetime.

-Physicians determining that the death of a potential donor has occurred should not be directly involved in organ removal from the donor and subsequent transplantation procedures, or be responsible for the care of potential recipients of such organs.

 -Organs for transplantation should be removed preferably from the bodies of deceased persons. However, adult living persons may donate organs, but in general such donors should be genetically related to the recipients. Exceptions may be made in the case of transplantation of bone marrow and other acceptable regenerative tissues.
An organ may be removed from the body of an adult living donor for the purpose of transplantation if the donor gives free consent. The donor should be free of any undue influence and pressure and sufficiently informed to be able to understand and weigh the risks, benefits and consequences of consent.

-No organ should be removed from the body of a living minor for the purpose of transplantation. Exceptions may be made under national law in the case of regenerative tissues.

-The human body and its parts cannot be the subject of commercial transactions. Accordingly, giving or receiving payment (including any other compensation or reward) for organs should be prohibited.

-Advertising the need for or availability of organs, with a view to offering or seeking payment, should be prohibited.

-It should be prohibited for physicians and other health professionals to engage in organ transplantation procedures if they have reason to believe that the organs concerned have been the subject of commercial transactions.

-It should be prohibited for any person or facility involved in organ transplantation procedures to receive any payment that exceeds a justifiable fee for the services rendered.

-In the light of the principles of distributive justice and equity, donated organs should be made available to patients on the basis of medical need and not on the basis of financial or other considerations.

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