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« The image of God behind bars | Main | Death imitates art »

November 25, 2008

Simply Horrifying

Centuries ago, the Aztecs routinely practiced human sacrifice to appease their gods. The sacrifices included cutting the heart out of the victim, shooting someone with arrows so their blood flowed freely from a number of wounds, burning people alive and then harvesting their hearts, or filleting victims' skin.

Grisly practices by a bunch of unenlightened people, right? You'd say we've come a long way from such savagery.

Well, not so fast with all the pats-on-the-back. A number of months ago, I wrote about organ transplantation and how people around the world are facing the horror of having their organs stolen. There's plenty of money to be made from this practice.      

Now a new article about the incredible abuse suspected to be happening to prisoners in China is making me wonder anew about the whole issue of transplantation. Mysterious medical tests and disappearances point to the unthinkable: The Chinese are killing religious and political prisoners in order to sell their organs to the highest bidder. 

Do you think Americans are immune from turning down an organ attained from these barbaric methods? Also, do you think we're above allowing this practice to happen here?

Here’s a clue that we’re not as far from stealing organs as you might think. Thankfully, the Prime Minister’s move to make transplantation an opt-out system has been scrapped—for now. But if more people don’t opt in…

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There is a novella that describes this: _The Patchwork Man_ by Larry Niven.

I recommend reading it to see what could hypothetically come to pass.

Rachel Coleman

A few years ago, I thought organ donation was a pretty good thing. But observing trends like these have made me revise my position. It all gets too close to us playing God.

Gina Dalfonzo

I certainly wouldn't say it's a bad thing. There are people in my own church who wouldn't have survived without it. It's coercion that's the problem.

Rachel Coleman

I suppose if we turned our backs on every good but potentially exploitable thing, we'd be in a terrible mess. Just because a few murderous nurses killed totally helpless patients in nursing homes, for example, does not mean all nursing homes are dangerous and should not be considered.


Then there is the sticky problem that organs do not come from corpses. They have to come from people in a coma to be transplantable. Once a person actually dies, the cells immediately start disassembling themselves.

On the other hand, and good news, is a woman who received a new trachaea - grown from her own adult stem cells. No need for immunosuppressant transplant drugs. That is the way to go.

Kim Moreland

We've definitely seen a bunch of exciting new adult stem cells therapies. Hopefully, this type of transplantation will become the norm.

Looking forward to reading the above mentioned novella.

Happy Thanksgiving.

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