Red Cross pledges fair distribution of donated organs

Updated: 2013-03-09 19:39


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BEIJING - China's largest charity has pledged to implement appropriate rules, procedures and channels for supervision to ensure the fair distribution of donated organs.

The Red Cross Society of China (RCSC) made the remarks in response to concerns raised by an Internet celebrity columnist on the fairness of the distribution process, according to the Saturday edition of the Beijing News.

In a statement issued by the RCSC, the organization promised fair rules, strict procedures as well as full transparency and comprehensive supervision in the distribution process.

All patients on the waiting list will be ranked according to their degree of medical need for the organ transplant, and those in more urgent need will be put at the top of the list, the newspaper quoted Zhao Baige, executive vice-president of the RCSC, as saying.

The distribution procedures will not take patients' positions and social status into consideration, Zhao said.

Moreover, the waiting list will be made available to both patients and relevant hospitals for supervision. Health authorities and Red Cross organizations will also monitor the distribution process, said Gao Xinpu, a senior official of the administrative center in charge of organ donation.

According to the newspaper, Pan Caifu, a columnist and web celebrity, has raised seven questions regarding the distribution, fees, donor compensation and standards for identifying potential donors in the country's organ donation system.

Working together with the Ministry of Health, the RCSC is responsible for handling the system's administrative affairs.

In his online article, Pan questioned whether donated organs would become a "privilege" for certain groups.

He also expressed his concern that the promised compensation for the donors' families would spur illegal organ trading.

Organ donations should be unaffected by irrelevant interests, but necessary care and assistance for donors and their family members are needed, the RCSC statement said.

Moreover, Gao said China has strict standards for identifying eligible donors.

Medical staff at hospitals report information about potential donors, which include both the recently deceased and those declared braindead, to a select team of "mediators", and the mediators "explain" the policies and scientific knowledge to the relatives of potential donors.

However, the mediators are not allowed to make any attempts to "persuade", Gao added.

China is facing a shortage of human organs for transplantation. About 300,000 patients wait for transplant surgeries each year, but only 10,000 receive such operations.

Meanwhile, skepticism regarding the RCSC has grown following a series of scandals in recent years.

In 2011, a woman identifying herself as "Guo Meimei" claimed to work for an organization under the RCSC and detailed her lavish lifestyle in her microblog, leading the public to question whether the organization's funds had been embezzled or misused.