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Friday, 30 May 2008
Four Japanese Gang Figures Got Liver Transplants At UCLA
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We posted a story in April about illegal immigrants receiving liver transplants (in one case, multiple transplants) at taxpayer expense and at the expense of American citizens awaiting transplants. Medical ethicist Dr. Michael Shapiro was quoted in that article saying, "People are people, and when you make an incision in an organ donor, you don't find little American flags planted on their organs." But how are people going to feel about donating organs when those organs are being used in this way. Isn't this abuse of public trust?

LA Times: UCLA Medical Center and its most accomplished liver surgeon provided a life-saving transplant to one of Japan's most powerful gang bosses, law enforcement sources told The Times.

In addition, the surgeon performed liver transplants at UCLA on three other men who are now barred from entering the United States because of their criminal records or suspected affiliation with Japanese organized crime groups, said a knowledgeable law enforcement official who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The four surgeries were done between 2000 and 2004 at a time of pronounced organ scarcity. In each of those years, more than 100 patients died awaiting liver transplants in the Greater Los Angeles region.

The surgeon in each case was Dr. Ronald W. Busuttil, executive chairman of UCLA's surgery department, according to another person familiar with the matter who also spoke on condition of anonymity. Busuttil is a world-renowned liver surgeon who co-edited a leading text on liver transplantation and is one of the highest-paid employees in the University of California system.

There is no evidence that UCLA or Busuttil knew at the time of the transplants that any of the patients had ties to Japanese gangs, commonly called yakuza. Both said in statements that they do not make moral judgments about patients and treat them based on their medical need...

Unfortunately for the nonjudgmental Dr. Busuttil, his actions are subject to the moral judgments of the taxpaying citizens who support UCLA.

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Posted on 05/30/2008 7:09 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Comments
30 May 2008
Hugh Fitzgerald

"Both said in statements that they do not make moral judgments about patients and treat them based on their medical need..."

They don't? Why not? When the medical procedure is life-saving, and is, furthermore, one that must be rationed,  why shouldn't doctors take into account the background of potential patients, at least in the most egregious cases as, here, where the lucky recipients of American medical advances were members of Japanese organized crime  groups?