Thursday, January 24, 2008

The "Iranian Kidney Bargain Sale"

I just finished watching an independent film entitled "Iranian Kidney Bargain Sale". When I first saw the name I thought it was some sort of bad comedy, but the title turned out to be telling the truth!

Iran is the only country in the world where you can legally sell a body organ, It's mostly done by young healthy people who need money.

I was absolutely riveted when it got to the part when they began to show the healthy guy's kidney being removed (you may or may not know that I had one removed a few years back. I didn't get paid for it though, daggone it! The going price is $3,000. and I'm thinking that since mine had a 6 cm. alien growing on it it should've been worth at least $4,000.) But I digress... let's get back to the film.

It showed the gaping hole they made in the young man in order to get to the kidney, and then showed the dr. lifting it up to examine & weigh it. It looked so very healthy, all red & vibrant & practically pulsing with life. They immediately took it into the next room to be installed in the waiting recipient.

Afterwards, the guy said to his wife "we must be more careful with our money now because we've sold our last resource". EEEEeeeeeeeek! What kind of country is it that teaches people that it's ok to do this for money? It (IMHO) illustrates how the lawmakers in Iran value (or should I say don't value) the lives of poor individuals.

This got me to thinking about how our laws are in place to (sometimes) protect people from themselves. Once every ten minutes a young person walks into one of the Iranian clinics that are specially set up for people to come in & sell an organ. They even haggle over the price!

Sure, people here in the U.S. sell plasma, but it's something that the body regenerates. Not so with a kidney.

While watching the surgery my throat felt like it was closing up... maybe it was partly because I knew my body had been invaded and robbed the way the guy's body was (although for me it was more of a search and rescue mission), but mostly I think it was just at the realization that young, vibrant men and women are doing this as an easy way to make money, not considering that they may actually need that "extra" kidney one day.

The hospital and operating room kind of freaked me out because it didn't have the "magical quality" of the operating rooms over here... the complex gadgets, gleaming surfaces, immaculate white cloths, brightly shining special lights reflecting off of the gleaming stainless steel... All of those things tell us, as we're wheeled in, that we're entering a special place where miracles can and do occur every day.

In contrast, the hospital in the film had about as much confidence-inducing atmosphere as your basement - and we're talking a basement that hasn't really been fixed up yet. I found myself expecting the doctor to whip a hunting knife out of his belt, wipe it on his pant leg, and start hacking.

Even if you can get past the lack of modern equipment and sanitary conditions, you'll notice the lack of concern for the donor's basic comfort.

If you've ever had surgery in the U.S. you probably remember having a clean sheet and soft white woven cotton blanket tucked in around you in pre-op, and when you woke up you may have found yourself wrapped in blankets that had been heated just for you. It made you feel comforted, cared for, safe.

In contrast,young man in Iran had a single cotton sheet tossed casually over him, his feet and upper body still exposed. In post-op, instead of having a nurse gently speaking to you as you regain consciousness, this poor guy had a robed man semi-shouting at him to wake up while pinching his nipple and slapping his face. I've seen lab rats treated with more respect than that.

The documentary is going to be on again tonight at midnight & will no doubt be aired repeatedly since the Discovery Channel generally operates that way. I'd recommend watching it - it really makes you stop and think about what your views really are about selling organs. (Before watching it I felt that you should be allowed to sell them if they wanted to... after all it's your body, yada yada yada.)

After watching it I think not. Much like the lottery sucks the money out of those who can least afford it but who are hoping for a miracle, this practice literally sucks the organs out of those who may have their judgement clouded by desperation. I'll be interested to hear what you think.

I'd recommend watching it. Be aware that it's all subtitles though, so unless you speak the language you won't be able to multi-task while watching it. ;-)


VexedAngel said...

Whoa. Scary stuff!!! There are so many institutionalized practices that do just as you say--rob people of various "resources" b/c they are clouded by desperation. I wish more people saw that. I won't get to watch it, but I don't know that I could handle it, anyway... But I have a friend who is very into foreign films, and I may pass the title onto her.

{b r a n d i} said...

wow...I had not idea that went on. That's scary...and crazy! Why risk your life for a measly $3000?? He could have died in that procedure. So scary.

Anonymous said...

OMGosh!!! I had no idea they allowed them to sell them like thta---but I soo agree that it just showed how in a lot of country's (that is not America)the medical care is atrocious---yeah i know that is the nurse coming out ---plus the insurance part of me.But sometimes people need to be saved from themselves. I know lots of people around here wouldbe willing to sell themselves (or any part of themselves) fo some money
----sorry--- Brenda is getting off her soapbox now-----