He Went to the Doctor, Learned Someone Took His Kidney

Police say they busted an illegal organ harvesting ring in Pakistan
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 3, 2023 4:23 PM CDT
He Went to the Doctor, Learned Someone Took His Kidney
   (Getty Images / Moussa81)

It sounds as sketchy as it does illegal: Police in Pakistan say they've busted an organ harvesting ring that carried out operations assisted by a car mechanic who handled the anesthesia. Dr. Fawad Mukhtar has been arrested along with the mechanic and six others. CNN reports they stand accused of conducting 328 operations in which a patient's kidney was removed—in some cases without their knowledge—and sold to wealthy clients in need of a transplant. The organs are said to have sold for as much as $34,000 each.

"There must be more operations that must have been carried out, the number is the only ones we've confirmed," said Mohsin Naqvi, the chief minister of Pakistan's Punjab province. Naqvi said the suspects "lured patients from hospitals," as CNN puts it, convincing them to instead get treatment in private homes, reports AFP. One man who agreed to do so said he only learned his kidney had been removed when he went to another doctor for follow-up treatment. He went to police, and a two-month investigation followed.

So far, three deaths have been attributed to the organ harvesting ring, police say. "The facts and figures that have come to us make the heart tremble," says Naqvi. The BBC reports the commercial trade of organs has been illegal in Pakistan since 2010, with those convicted of the crime facing up to 10 years in jail and sizable fines. Still, media reports say organ harvesting is again on the rise due to the country's economy. (Read more organ harvesting stories.)

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