Federal authorities in July charged a Brooklyn, N.Y., man with conspiracy to violate the federal law banning buying or selling of human organs. If the allegations are true, it would be the first documented case of a black market for organs for transplant operating in the U.S., and experts said it could undermine public confidence in the country’s organ system.
A criminal complaint filed in the U.S. District Court of New Jersey alleges that Levy Izhak Rosenbaum asked an undercover FBI agent for $160,000 to line up an unrelated living kidney donor from Israel. The agent pretended to be a longtime secretary of a cooperating witness and in need of a kidney for an uncle waiting on a transplant list in the Philadelphia area.
“This kind of thing happens in Third World countries. There have been suggestions of it happening here, but I just never believed them,” said Joren C. Madsen, MD, DPhil, president of the American Society of Transplantation and director of the Massachusetts General Hospital Transplant Center.
The whole shebang.