WEH/Ethox Seminar: Confidentiality and transplant tourism: keeping one’s hands clean during organ laundering

Registration link: medsci.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJMucemtpjsqG9zzmn3Tx9mHda5Mh_UotLDz

Paying for organs for transplantation is illegal in most countries, yet some patients still choose to travel overseas and obtain transplants through such illegal channels. They do so safe in the knowledge that once they get back to the UK, they will be treated like any other patient and receive a lifetime of follow-up care for their transplant. Even though doctors may be suspicious of the origins of their patient’s transplant, most feel bound by a duty of confidentiality and unable to take further action. In this talk, I will draw upon the concept of ‘organ laundering’ whereby, over time, illegally obtained organs are ‘laundered’ and take on the guise of entirely licit transplants. I will start by outlining organ laundering and explaining why it is problematic. I will argue that potential participation in organ laundering provides additional reasons for doctors to report cases of suspected illegal transplants. Finally, I will consider ways in which this may be compatible with existing justifications for breaching confidentiality and disclosing patient information in other scenarios.