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China organ harvesting: Four doctors are jailed for taking patients liver and kidney illegally

A group of six people, including four doctors, have been jailed in China for illegally harvesting dead patients’ organs, according to a report.

The convicted medics, all ranking high in state-run hospitals, conned the families of the deceased into signing fake official organ-donating agreements before performing the criminal procedures inside a fake ambulance, the article claimed.

The gang reportedly snatched livers and kidneys from 11 corpses between 2017 and 2018 before trading them through hospitals for profit.

One of the convicted doctors, Huang Xinli, is seen boasting about his hospital's all-out efforts in saving patients with donated organs during a news show by Jiangsu Satellite TV in 2018

One of the convicted doctors, Huang Xinli, is seen boasting about his hospital’s all-out efforts in saving patients with donated organs during a news show by Jiangsu Satellite TV in 2018

The defendants were reportedly convicted of damaging corpses and jailed between 10 and 28 months by a regional court in eastern China’s Anhui Province in August.

The case came to light after one of the victims’ son showed the court ruling to The Paper, a Shanghai-based news website known for its investigative reports. 

According to the report from Wednesday, the four convicted doctors worked in hospitals in the provinces of Anhui and Jiangsu in eastern China.

They targeted dying patients who were victims of traffic accidents or suffered from cerebral haemorrhages.

All of the surgical operations were led by two of the medics, Huang Xinli and Lu Sen, who used to work on organ procurement for their respective hospitals.

Huang and Lu carried out the procedures with the help of their assistants on an counterfeit ambulance purchased by their accomplice from a village clinic – almost always in the early hours.

Most of the obtained organs were ‘taken away’ by Huang, a PhD and supervising doctor at the Drum Tower Hospital of Nanjing, before being distributed to various hospitals illegally for transplant operations.

The picture shows a sign featuring Yang Suxun, a former director of the People's Hospital of Huaiyuan County in Anhui. Yang was in charge of finding organ sources, according to a report

The picture shows a sign featuring Yang Suxun, a former director of the People’s Hospital of Huaiyuan County in Anhui. Yang was in charge of finding organ sources, according to a report

The group reportedly targeted patients who were victims of traffic accidents or suffered from cerebral haemorrhages in Huaiyuan. The picture shows the People's Hospital of Huaiyuan

The group reportedly targeted patients who were victims of traffic accidents or suffered from cerebral haemorrhages in Huaiyuan. The picture shows the People’s Hospital of Huaiyuan

Shi Xianglin, the man who approached The Paper, claimed that his mother’s liver and kidney had been ‘donated’ on the day of her passing without his consent. His mother had suffered from severe brain injuries.

The gang allegedly transferred 200,000 yuan (£22,800) to one of Shi’s cousins as compensation for the forced donation when Shi was hospitalised due to injuries.

Shi discovered his family might be the victim of a scam when he found out that his mother’s name was not listed in China’s official organ-donating system. He then reported the case to health and legal authorities.

It is understood that the criminal gang would sell the organs for a much higher price than the sum they had given the families.

One of the convicted doctors, Yang Suxun, is quoted confessing during the court investigation: ‘If the family of the patient showed inclination [to donate the patient’s organs], I will send the results of their medical tests to Huang Xinli to see if their organs would be useful.’

Yang, a former director of the People’s Hospital of Huaiyuan County in Anhui, said that Huang would work with another convicted doctor Wang Hailiang. The pair would arrange the family to sign a fake organ-donation agreement without the witness of Red Cross workers – a legally required step in China.

It is said that all of the victims were residents of Huaiyuan County.

Ten out of the 11 organ-harvesting operations were led by Huang, who in 2018 boasted about his hospital’s all-out efforts in saving patients with donated organs on TV.

The other surgery was headed by Lu Sen, a supervising doctor at the Provincial People’s Hospital of Jiangsu.

The convicted medics (not the ones pictured), all high ranking in state-run hospitals, had conned the families of the deceased into signing fake official organ-donating agreements before performing illegal organ-harvesting procedures inside a fake ambulance (file photo)

The convicted medics (not the ones pictured), all high ranking in state-run hospitals, had conned the families of the deceased into signing fake official organ-donating agreements before performing illegal organ-harvesting procedures inside a fake ambulance (file photo)

The case was ruled by the Huaiyuan County Court in July.

It is reported that Huang, the lead defendant, was sentenced to two years and four months in prison while Wang was handed two years imprisonment.

Yang, who was in charge of finding sources of organs, was jailed for two years and two months while Lu would spend one year behind bars.

Huang Chaoyang, a supplier of medical equipment, and Ou Yang, the owner of the fake ambulance, received 10 and 13 months of prison sentence respectively.

All of the six defendants appealed against the rulings. The Intermediate People’s Court of Bengbu in Anhui Province rejected their appeals and backed the original sentences in August.

It remains unclear if any of the defendants had appealed against the intermediate court’s decision.

China has been facing a severe shortage of organs needed for transplant. The nation’s authority has struggled to meet patients’ demand through voluntary donations from the public.

An average of 300,000 Chinese patients require transplants every year, but only about 16,000 operations, or five per cent of the demand, are likely to be performed, Chinese state media have estimated. 

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