British Transplantation Society Annual Congress 2014 welcomes DAFOH
February 26-28, 2014 – The annual conference for UK transplantation specialists was held in Glasgow, Scotland, with approximately 500 delegates. This year the British Transplantation Society (BTS) donated a booth at the congress in support of the work that DAFOH is doing in Scotland.
When doctors and transplantation professionals came to the booth and heard that the BTS was involved, many said they were really glad DAFOH could be there and one surgeon, who was already familiar with DAFOH, said that it was about time we had a presence at the congress.
Although the vast majority of the delegates were not aware that prisoners of conscience (primarily Falun Gong) are subject to organ harvesting in China, all expressed appreciation for learning about the issue and many left the booth wishing us success, and encouraging us to continue our efforts.
Some delegates and exhibitors, however, were already familiar with the work DAFOH is doing. One exhibitor who works for a French company that develops organ preservation products said that when her company was considering doing business in China she did research and found organ harvesting from prisoners of conscience highly unethical. The company made the decision not to do business with China.
A liver and pancreas transplantation surgeon from Manchester was already aware of organ harvesting in China and said, “It is awful. It is absolutely reprehensible.” A consulting transplant surgeon from Sheffield was preparing to give a presentation on medical ethics and law in transplantation and read the book “State Organs”. He told us he found it very informative, and looked forward to reading “Bloody Harvest” as well.
DAFOH prepared a letter for doctors to sign at the congress that was addressed to the UN High Commissioner. The letter respectfully asked Ms. Pillay to end her silence regarding the petition she received in December of 1.5 million signatories asking her to call upon China to immediately end the forced organ harvesting from detained Falun Gong practitioners. Fifty eight doctors signed the letter at the BTS congress, and members of the BTS council, congress speakers, and a surgeon who received a lifetime achievement award in transplantation.
Business exhibitors wanted to know about this issue because they were also considering expanding into China. Staff from the Kidney Research UK, who fund national research, were concerned about investing money In China. Lawyers, medical students, and microbiologists wanted to understand the unethical climate in China. NHS Blood and Transplant staff who manage the aftercare of organ tourism patients, nurses and surgeons who are directly involved in transplantations all took a keen interest in the booth. Although their roles in transplantation medicine varied, everyone who came by the booth seemed genuinely appreciative for the information we were able to provide and encouraged us to continue.