The University of Arizona’s College of Medicine, Phoenix, presented a forum on April 15, 2016, entitled:
“International Forced Organ Harvesting and Its Effect on the United States.”
UA College of Medicine’s Department of Bioethics and Medical Humanism in partnership with Arizona State University, the University of Utah and Doctors Against Forced Organ Harvesting hosted a traveling lecture series featuring renowned speakers who came to discuss an important global health issue. The two-hour forum detailed the ethical violations of forced organ harvesting in China and how this impacts not only communities in Arizona, but also throughout the United States. The invitation stated “The UA College of Medicine – Phoenix welcomes this traveling lecture to lead the conversation about ethical organ donation practice, as well as to prepare medical students and our medical community about the dangers of international forced organ harvesting. Organ transplants are one of the wonders of modern medicine; it’s a procedure that saves lives every day, but non-consensual organ harvesting is a gross violation of human rights.” Representatives from Arizona are working diligently to pass legislation that will stop unethical organ harvesting in China.
The University of Arizona staff and speakers were all pleased by the turnout and positive responses from forum attendees. The Department of Bioethics and Medical Humanism recorded the event and has provided a free public vimeo link of the entire presentation at https://vimeo.com/163295832.
Forum speakers included:
David Beyda, Director, Global Health Program, Chair and Professor, Department of Bioethics and Medical Humanism University of Arizona, DAFOH member
David Matas, internationally renowned human rights attorney and 2010 Nobel Peace Prize Nominee
G. Weldon Gilcrease, Assistant Professor of Medicine, University of Utah, Deputy Director DAFOH
Winston Liu, Chinese prisoner of conscience, survivor of forced organ harvesting, Falun Gong Practitioner
Mr. Matas proposed a resolution that would be presented to the State of Arizona recommending specific consequences for any U.S. doctor that refers patients to China for organ transplants or provides patient information to Chinese organ transplant agencies. He also said that U.S. professors should understand that their Chinese medical trainees might become transplant surgeons involved in such unethical transplant practices, committing crimes simply “too vicious.”
DAFOH proposed a resolution that all U.S. medical institutions and instructors be required to inform all Chinese trainees about the crimes of live organ harvesting of prisoner of conscience in China. Any involvement by the trainees in organ harvesting would not only void their training or degrees obtained in the U.S., but also result in legal consequences.
Many people who came to the forum were shocked by the information presented as evidenced by discussions during the reception immediately following the forum. A University of Arizona professor was terrified to learn about the forced organ harvesting in China and commented: “Gosh! I have provided training to six people from China on corneal transplants.” He agreed that more U.S. medical professionals should take action.
One University of Arizona medical student said he was disturbed by the harsh facts in China, “I have kept thinking how to help these innocent people.” Another University of Arizona student from China said he did not know of this brutality in his own country. A transplant surgeon from Scottsdale, Arizona, who joined DAFOH that evening later wrote, “I admire your commitment to this cause and am happy to help in any way. I have and will continue to support DAFOH financially and philosophically. Keep up this fight! On behalf of our specialty. On behalf of decency. On behalf of humanity.”