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China’s Organ Procurement Troubles Most US Clinicians

Last Updated: April 29, 2009.

Because of China's organ procurement practices, including organ harvesting from executed prisoners, most health care professionals involved in liver transplantation do not recommend patients seek a transplant in that country, according to a study released online Jan. 12 in advance of publication in Clinical Transplantation.

WEDNESDAY, April 29 (HealthDay News) -- Because of China's organ procurement practices, including organ harvesting from executed prisoners, most health care professionals involved in liver transplantation do not recommend patients seek a transplant in that country, according to a study released online Jan. 12 in advance of publication in Clinical Transplantation.

Scott W. Biggins, M.D., of the University of California San Francisco, and colleagues conducted an online survey of health care professionals affiliated with transplantation and hepatology societies to determine what effect China's organ procurement practices had on pre-transplant health care decisions and post-transplant care of patients who had the procedure in China.

Some 674 surveys were returned with 93 percent of responses coming from physicians, surgeons or other professionals working in the field of liver transplantation, 81 percent of whom practiced in the United States, the authors note. Procurement practices were adjudged ethical in the United States (87 percent) and Europe (73 percent), but not in China (4 percent). The researchers found that, generally, physicians were averse to recommending a patient seek a transplant in China compared to another foreign country or the United States. The respondents said they would provide post-transplantation care wherever the procedure was done, whether in the United States (90 percent), another foreign country (78 percent) or China (63 percent).

"In this survey, transplant professionals expressed serious concerns about the organ procurement practices in China, and these concerns influenced their patient-care decision-making and support for actions to improve the ethical standards for organ procurement," the authors write.

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