Last year, a Chinese teen sold his kidney to raise money to buy an Apple iPad and iPhone. Now, five people, including the surgeon who conducted the operation, are being charged with “intentional injury.” According to prosecutors, the boy, who was 17 at the time of the operation, has suffered from renal deficiency, a serious medical condition in which the kidney fails to filter toxins and waste from the blood stream.
The story is steeped in both tragedy and intrigue. The boy, who has not been publicly identified, hails from one of China’s poorest provinces. When his mother saw her son with a new iPad and iPhone, both highly sought in China, the son admitted that he sold his kidney to pay for them.
News of the illegal surgery first broke last year. The boy spoke to a Chinese TV station. “I wanted to buy an iPad 2, but I didn’t have the money,” the boy said. “When I surfed the internet I found an advert posted online by agent saying they were able to pay RMB 20,000 to buy a kidney.” That’s the equivalent of about $3,100.
According to reports, the boy received only about 10% of what the kidney buyer paid. The rest went to the surgeon and others involved in arranging the operation. The operation was conducted in a hospital room that had been rented out. Though China has banned the selling and trading of organs, the practice still occurs on the black market. According to a report from the Health Ministry, “1.5 million patients need transplants each year, but only 10,000 organs are available.” Many of those seeking organs come from other countries.
The story underscores two major factors impacting China at the moment: an increasing number of people want to get their hands on the latest and greatest technology products, but in many parts of the country, affording them is nearly impossible. According to Xinhua, Chinese law enforcement officials are still investigating more suspects that might be linked to the alleged trade. China banned trade in human organs in 1997, Xinhua said, although there is a thriving black market for organs.
I find this disturbing and somewhat humorous considering the fact that someone would actually do this for any type of tech product. I understand how poverty stricken or even middle class people are envious of things they can’t afford or the newest latest tech; just save your money even though it may take a long time to get it. Something better may come up in between that period as well. You will have the money saved up to buy that anyways. Like the new Ipad 3 or Iphone 5 or 6. Seriously. Also I don’t think it being an Apple product would have made a different in this situation.I think my parents would have noticed if I had major surgery as well. And the fact that the “surgeon” never asked to speak to his parents to get consent just goes to show you this was wrong on multiple levels.