Human Exceptionalism

Biological Colonialism in Brooklyn: Exploiting the Poor and Making a Bundle

A human kidney broker–he called himself a “matchmaker”–has been busted as part of a series of corruption raids in Brooklyn. From the story:

Levy Izhak Rosenbaum of Brooklyn called himself a “matchmaker,” but his business wasn’t romance. Instead, authorities say, he brokered the sale of black-market kidneys, buying organs from vulnerable people from Israel for $10,000 and selling them to desperate patients in the U.S. for as much as $160,000. The alleged decade-long scheme, exposed this week by an FBI sting, rocked the nation’s transplant industry. If true, it would be the first documented case of organ trafficking in the U.S., transplant experts said Friday…

This case could become a huge and thoroughly disgraceful scandal:

As part of the scheme, the organ donors were brought from Israel to this country, where they underwent surgery to remove the kidneys, authorities said. Prosecutors did not identify which hospitals in the U.S. received the donors and their kidneys.

This case–and associated arrests in New Jersey–illustrate both the profound corruption that I fear has infected the country, as well as the truism that when organs become a commodity, the rich buy, the poor sell, and the brokers get rich.

If this guy is guilty and American hospitals were involved, I hope they throw the book at them.  But look at the bright side. The humanitarian author Daniel Asa Rose could write a sequel to Larry’s Kidney, “an uproarious tour de force” that detailed the rollicking good time he and his cousin had in China, as they paid, in effect, for someone to be killed so Larry could get the organ. Of course the second book wouldn’t be as much of an hilarious “slapstick comedy”–since in this scheme, apparently nobody got murdered: They were just subjected to the worst kind of exploitation while the brokers got rich.

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