--- SEARCH ---
Learning Chinese
Learn to Cook Chinese Dishes
Exchange Rates
Hotel Service

Hot Links
China Development Gateway
Chinese Embassies

Stepping-up Organ Supply
Chinese legislators are mapping out a human organ transplantation law designed to help patients and improve the regulation of relevant medical practices.

"We hope the promulgation of new rules on human organ transplantation will turn into action as soon as possible to meet medical needs," said Huang Jiefu, vice minister of health, during the second Sino-US Symposium on Medicine in the 21st Century, held in Shanghai last week.

"Organ transplantation is the only appropriate treatment for many patients with terminal or end-stage organ diseases," said Huang, an expert on liver transplants, who has successfully carried out about 200 of the operations.

Organ transplants have been widely adopted in large Chinese hospitals as a well-developed medical technology. But the majority of patients with defective organs can't be treated in time because too few healthy human organs are available through legal channels.

"Many patients are waiting for healthy livers for transplants because hepatitis is widespread in China. But there are not enough healthy organs to meet the need," said Huang. Thus, the human organ transplantation law should be designed to encourage more people to become donors , increasing the supply of fresh organs from accident victims.

"The new legal framework for human organ collection and transplantation should help to ease the medical organ shortage, not only benefiting patients but also advancing medical research," said Zhang Bin, a local lawyer.

Since Professor Wu Jieping successfully performed the country's first kidney transplant surgery in 1960, China has carried out many transplant operations for kidney, liver, lung, heart, pancreas and other organs. The type and number of operations have both grown, and the success rate has greatly increased.

The survival rate of kidney transplant patients has increased from 50 per cent in the 1980s to 90 per cent today. The longest-surviving patient has lived for over 24 years.

"Surgeons are capable of doing all kinds organ transplants in China. Some transplant technologies are up to the best world level," said Wu Qiang from Shanghai No.1 People's Hospital, where the first human organ transplant centre in China is located. "But they are unable to help thousands of patients tortured by severe ailments due to the shortage of fresh human organs."

Annually, throughout the country, only 2,000 patients are lucky enough to receive healthy spleens, accounting for only 0.7 per cent of the total number in need (over 300,000), according to Wu.

As for cornea transplants, less than 1,000 people each year are recipients of the healthy corneas required to restore their eyesight. About 4 million blind people could have their lost eyesight restored if healthy corneas became available.

Laws on brain death and human organ transplantation are still awaiting approval in China.

Since the biggest challenge for the law is to ensure the legal and reasonable source of organs, Huang has suggested that all citizens covered by the social medical insurance programme be automatically registered as organ donors, thus greatly expanding the organ bank and squeezing out the underground human organ trade.

"That would reflect the principle of mutual aid and could be regarded as part of the social medical insurance programme," said Zhang.

At the same time, the law should strictly prohibit any commercial trafficking in human organs and individuals should not seek payment for providing organs, Zhang added.

The vice minister also stressed that transplantation ethics are a priority in China."Family members and the public are encouraged to donate organs, which is in accordance with the Taoist ethical theory of universal love," said Huang.

(Shanghai Star November 1, 2002)

Part of Liver Transplant Successful
Print This Page
Email This Page
About Us SiteMap Feedback
Copyright © China Internet Information Center. All Rights Reserved
E-mail: webmaster@china.org.cn Tel: 86-10-68326688