Reporting Organ Trafficking Networks: A Survey-Based Plea to Breach the Secrecy Oath

Frederike Ambagtsheer, Linde Balen, WLJM Duijst-Heesters, Emma Massey, Willem Weimar

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18 Citations (Scopus)


Patients travel worldwide to purchase kidneys. Transplant professionals can play a role in identifying kidney purchase. However, due to the tension between their rights and obligations, a lack of understanding and knowledge exists on how to prevent and report purchase. We present the results of a national survey that describes transplant professionals' experiences, attitudes, behaviors, conflicts of duties, legal knowledge and needs for guidelines toward patients who purchase kidneys abroad. Second, we clarify professionals' rights and obligations regarding organ purchase and propose actions that they can take to report purchase. Of the 100/241 (42%) professionals who treated patients who traveled to a country outside the European Union for a kidney transplant, 31 (31%) were certain that patients purchased kidneys. Sixty-five (65%) had suspicions that patients had bought kidneys. The majority reported a conflict of duties. Eighty percent reported a need for guidelines. Professionals can help prevent organ purchase by disclosing information about organ trafficking networks to law enforcement. Such disclosure can support the investigation and prosecution of networks. We offer key components for guidelines on disclosure of these networks.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)1759-1767
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Transplantation
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Research programs

  • EMC MM-04-39-05

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