September 1st, 2009
05:01 PM ET

Donor says he got thousands for his kidney

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/WORLD/meast/09/01/blackmarket.organs/art.kidney.donor.cnn.jpg caption="Nick Rosen says he got $20,000 to donate his kidney and lied to the hospital's transplant team."]

Drew Griffin and David Fitzpatrick
CNN Special Investigations Unit

Four years ago, a young, cash-starved Israeli answered an ad in a newspaper for a kidney donor.

"I decided I wanted to make a positive change in my life and do something different," Nick Rosen told CNN. "So I saw an ad in the paper and it said, 'Kidney Donor Wanted.' And called the ad in the paper, and they asked me my blood type."

Ultimately, Rosen flew to New York and underwent surgery at Mount Sinai Medical Center to remove one of his two healthy kidneys.

"Let's say I donated a kidney and received compensation," he said.

Rosen's story is one of several that have come to light in recent weeks as part of a worldwide CNN investigation into what appears to be a widespread black market in human organs currently under scrutiny by authorities in the United States and Israel.

Rosen says he was paid $20,000 for his kidney - something he admits he lied about in interviews with the hospital's transplant team.


Filed under: Health Care
soundoff (6 Responses)
  1. N. Manetavat

    Unethical !! If you need a kidney to safe life and you have money, would you say unethical?

    September 2, 2009 at 11:17 am |
  2. Michele Raye

    Need your kidney later? Usually, they fail in pairs, so I don't think that giving up a kidney really is that much of a risk. If it was, we wouldn't allow it at all. I can speak from experience, I am a Canadian who gave up a kidney so a friend could get one, kind of a put one in/take one out system. I was able to reduce her wait time from 7 years to none, but unfortunately got treated like crap, mostly, by the "gods" who make up the medical board who screened me. They were arrogant people who spent way too much energy trying to determine if I was a crazy person or getting paid, and not enough energy supporting my friend and I.

    We should pay people for this, legal and above board. Several leading bioethicists have supported this (Stakes and Kidneys is a book on the topic, there are several.) OTherwise, people are going to die needlessly.

    My one kidney and I are going to be just fine. Making that donation was the best thing I ever did. 20k wouldn't have hurt, though.

    My friend, by the way, is doing just great 2 years later.

    September 1, 2009 at 8:32 pm |
  3. Victoria Poupko

    Dear Bloger,
    Israely man is happy with his thousands; it is not so bad to sale one's organs.. But look at the other corner o (big corner) of the world. This corner is Russia. You don't rotate your blog to 360, because you never saw what happens in Russia. Not much better, than with Stalin regime, only a lesser scale. The people of Chechnya (where Russian KGB put a real Stalin regime) do not get money for their organs. They lost their lives in addition. The young men, some 17 to 30 years of age are kidnapped and then found with largely cut bellies somewhere in the forest, or in mass graves or else on villages' outskirt. This horrible actions started in 2004 when KGB puppet , "president" Kadyrov was put on the trone in Chechnya.
    There are video cassettes with those corpses.
    Sincerely, Victoria

    September 1, 2009 at 8:19 pm |
  4. Donna Wood, Lil' Tennessee

    Yes and when these people do end up needing that kidney later on, what do you think they will do? My guess is they'll start trying to sue any one they can for their own bad decision. I know that sounds cynical, but that's how it feels to me. I'm straped for cash myself, but I'm not going to start selling off my body parts unless one of my brothers or sisters needs something and then it will be given freely.

    Donna Wood
    Lexington, Tennessee

    September 1, 2009 at 8:04 pm |
  5. Mike

    From one idiot to a "widespread black market"? This black market has been reported to be under investigation for decades and nothing has ever been shown. There has been an increase in this unethical practice of payment for kidney procurement in developing countries in which there seems to be no concensus on whether it is wanted or not, but in most its not illegal. This somehow is always used as evidence that a ghoulish and secret widespread black market simply must exist in the US. The fact that no one can find it just makes it much more interesting.

    There have been very few arrests in decades of enforcement of the anatomical gifts act. For the sake of this entertainment you are convincing the country that organ transplantation is ghoulish and unethical, and that they need not support donation. Could I introduce you to some small children who will soon die without some next of kin allowing donation? This is not harmless.

    September 1, 2009 at 7:01 pm |
  6. Annie Kate

    I wonder in the long run if the price donors are being paid for their kidneys is going to be worth it to them. They may need that donated kidney one day and have neither the opportunity or cash to "buy" them a new one. While you are young things like this may be a good way to get money you need, but as you get older and your body ages you may need the very part you sold so many years ago. I hope this black market of sold body parts can be cleaned up – for everyone's protection.

    September 1, 2009 at 5:34 pm |