14 January 2009

Independent investigation needed over Tang's kidney transplant

A hanged prisoner's kidney goes to a wealthy man who had been convicted previously of trying to buy a kidney, and who was thrown off the kidney transplant waiting list. The Minister for Health dismisses the matter as a private affair. It is not. Full essay.


Anonymous said...

Some insider leak that China prison guard are trained to shoot death sentence prisoner in such a way that they don't die instantly, Dr then quickly rush to remove his organs while he is still alive.

I like to know how we do it in SG.

Anonymous said...

I find it strange the Straits Times blew the news up. And then a few days later some findings on public perception and upcoming changes to HOTA. Don't forget the govt-controlled media's ultimate role is to support the govt, in this case making the upcoming changes to HOTA more palatable to the public.

Anonymous said...

Exactly! One law for the rich & one for the poor. Our criminal justice system has been bugging me for some time. Its so damn obvious that the law favors the well off locals & the white ang moh expats in recent months, its very glaring. I am referring to the Tiger Airways Chief Engineering Officer who is British who attacked a Sporean cabbie & also walked off with a much reduced sentence!

I support the idea that once Tang has regained his health, he should serve out the rest of his sentence if he has any conscience! This time the doctors certifying his health status should be from a panel appointed by the judge and not his personal physician!

If this was a blue or white collar worker living in the HDB heartlands who has committed the same crime that Mr Tang did, you can definitely expect the full weight of the judicial sentence land on him squarely & accurately with not a notch out of place!

Could it be that high level officials who shared the same faith as Tang rallied in the medical communities to promote him to the most favored list by hook or by crook?Was it not made public that the medical community proselytizes that faith openly among patients that some patients belonging to other faiths complained to the press in the past?

What is more troubling is how opaque the organ transplant queue is. For all you know if the political elite family members or their close relatives are in dire need of an organ, would they adhere to stick to the queue system or resort to alternative means.

Anonymous said...

INDEPENDENT..... hmmm.. who?

Robert L said...

Well done, Yawning Bread, for writing this article. Very, very well done indeed!

An unpaid blogger has done what all those paid journalists are unable to do. An unpaid blogger has done what all those highly paid Members of Parliament did not do, these supposedly representatives of the voters.

Besides the points in the article, here's one more matter that deserves attention.

Live kidney donation (from a living donor) is govern by laws that require approval by a Ethics Committee, principally to prevent the rich paying the poor for their healthy kidney.

Upon death, kidneys are harvested from the dead body and fall under laws that are govern by tissue matching and the general health of the reciepient. Neither the dead nor their relatives have any say on who receives the kidney.

It is unthinkable to allow somebody to fall into the cracks between these two lawful circumstances.

In the absurd case of Mr Tang, he should either allow the transplant committee to determine who gets the kidney, or submit to the Ethics Committee to receive a kidney "donated" to him. Quite clearly, somebody in-charge has fallen asleep on the job. I would not want to make the more serious suggestion that those in-charge had been bribed.

Anonymous said...

"Or do we want to reinforce the belief that in Singapore there is one law for the rich and another for the rest of us?"

Correction: In Singapore, there is no law for the rich. If you are rich, you can do anything you like in Singapore and get away with it.

yuen said...

a living organ donor can specify the recipient,usually a family member; when Tang tried by buy a kidney, the seller designed him as recipient,though there was no family connection; the difference with this case is the donor had already died, though he was believed to have designed Tang as recipient earlier

Anonymous said...

There's social INJUSTICE here! Our law should not allow a law-breaker to get what he wants by hook and by crook.
Heard that he had undergone a transplant abroad before the illegal deal to purchase a kidney from the Indonesian man, but because of his indulgence in unhealthy food, his new kidney failed.
And now, he got a new one FOC! It's so ridiculously unfair to other kidney patients!

joe said...

Was Mr Tang's case the most serious when the late Tan passed away?

I was surprised that after all his conviction, he gets to be at the top of the queue. I hope that no one is put into a more dire condition because Mr Tang gets to be in front.

Life is precious, rich or poor.

tewniaseng said...

HOTA's aim is to benefit the rich, since they have money,they can do all sorts of things to prolong their life, but for poor people you better die if you get serious illness!!!

Anonymous said...

I have read many blogs and comments on the internet. But this is definitely the best article i have read. But unfortunately I don't think the Government is going to do anything.
I do agree that Tang should be back to jail as he is now fit. It is darn not fair for an innocent victim to be jailed(the indonesian man) for Tang's stupid intention while he got a 2 hour jail? Thats radiculous !

kayangmo said...

dear yawningbread....yawn....

Do you mean that you really don't know that money rules in this world, and especially in Singapore?

Are you not stating the obvious? By stating the obvious can you change anything? You only raise a ruckus and that is about all you can do.

However, good job. Keep doing it please.

Anonymous said...

I hope Mr Siew or Ms Olson will bring this matter up in parliament.

Why was a middle age man ahead of the queue of many many others.

The books must be opened. If One eyed dragon specified the recipient to be Mr Tang, there must be solid proof to show this.

Anything else is not acceptable. Not in this first class, first world country that is whiter than white.

Anonymous said...

Now the New Paper has come out with a story that what Tang received was a directed donation under MTERA (Medical Therapy Educational and Research Act) though what One eyed dragon Tan had in common with Tycoon Tang is beyond my understanding unless...........

"MTERA allows people to donate their organs and tissues for the purposes of transplantation, education or research after they die. Anyone 18 years old and above can make the pledge."

"It is understood that after Tan was hanged at Changi Prison on 9 Jan, coincidentally, Mr Tang and one other patient received kidneys from a dead donor on the same day".

The key word here is "coincidentally". I hope that if ever I need a kidney, another one eyed dragon would be hanged on the same day. OK, OK, I pledge to work hard to be a tycoon by then!

Anonymous said...

I shared the same sentiment when I read the news. Of course they said that pne-eyed dragon designated Tang to receive his kidney, but the question is, was there something else. monetary or otherwise, that help to shape his decision to 'donate' his kidney to Tang? I am sure many people, especially those who have waited for years to get a kidney, will want an answer.

Lost Citizen

joe said...

"It is a little-known fact that there is a way for a kidney patient to legally leap ahead of others in the queue."

Well, someone did know of this little-known fact. Do kidney patients on the queue know this too?

Everything is so coincidentally perfect and timed. I really wonder how it happened.

Anonymous said...

As Anonymous at 16 January, 2009 11:41 has pointed out, the kidney donation could have been done under MTERA (Medical Therapy Educational and Research Act).

Singapore Statutes Online, Chapter 175 (MTERA). Of note are clauses 3, 7, and 10.

My guess of how this works. I might be wrong. Donor opts-out from HOTA because one cannot select a specific donee under HOTA. Donor pledges his organ under MTERA instead. Either donor specifies his intended donee, or the donee is unspecified and the head of the govt hospital (handling the deceased) designate the transplant recipient, selected on basis of research. Nothing is said about it being illegal for donor or donor's family to receive compensation under MTERA.

See also the following.

Many Singaporeans aren't aware that they get a better deal if they opt-out from HOTA and opt-in under MTERA instead. Advantages quoted out from the above URL.

MTERA "is an opt-in scheme, where people can pledge to donate their organs and tissues" ... "for the purposes of transplantation, education or research after they pass away".

"Under MTERA, you can choose to donate all your organs or specify those you wish to donate".

"Organ pledgers who pledge to donate their kidney, liver, heart and cornea under the MTERA will receive the same priority as other Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents who have not opted out from HOTA".

Say you have a relative with a weak heart awaiting transplant. You want your heart to go him if you should die. If you are under HOTA, you cannot ensure that your heart goes to your relative, because it follows the priority under the HOTA queue. If you opt-out from HOTA, opt-in to MTERA and you can specify that your relative to receive your heart should you die. Should you stay alive but your kidneys suddenly fail, you will be put on HOTA queue without any penalty (i.e. no difference whether you "opt-in to MTERA with specific donee" or "did not opt-out from HOTA").

Personally, I think our laws are too convoluted. But for those who have sick relatives, please consider MTERA instead of HOTA while the law stays as it is.

Anonymous said...

"But for those who have sick relatives, please consider MTERA instead of HOTA while the law stays as it is."

Thanks to the poster for this tip. I did not know about it no one has publicized about it until now. Think I might just opt out of HOTA as no one knows for sure whose turn will be up next for a transplant.

In the meantime, I'll boycott Tangs store, don't want to patronize a store where a Mr Tang is so unscrupulous & manipulative.

Robert L said...

Regarding MTERA, I'm a bit confused by what some posters have said here above.

I've checked the gov website on MTERA and do not find any indication that the donor can specify a particular receipient. The scanty info so far is that one-eyed dragon pledged his kidney to Tang. But that would be overstepping the laws governing MTERA.

The only law governing donating organ to a particular receipient specifies that it must go through an Ethics Committee, to ensure that the poor are not selling their organs to the rich.

Anonymous said...

To Robert L:

I am Anonymous at 18 January, 2009 14:43.

The details of Medical (Therapy, Education and Research) Act (MTERA) which allows for specifying your organ(s)/tissue recipient(s) is found in Singapore Statutes Online website not in the "Live on!" website. Chapter 175 of the statutes refers to the MTERA. As mentioned before, of note are clauses 3, 7, and 10. You can go to the following URL and then search for chapter 175 to get the information.

Please note that in order not to be penalised for opting-out of HOTA, one has to pledge to donate kidneys, liver, heart and corneas. Each organ/tissue can go to different specified and/or non-specified recipients. The recipient(s) has a right to reject the donation offered, but the rejection will not affect the deceased donor. My understanding is the donor does not have to be related to the recipient(s) in any way, since such a requirement is not stated in the MTERA statutes.

The devil is in the details not covered in the govt's promotional "Live on!" website. As I have stated before, I might be wrong with regards to financial transaction, if any, between donor and recipient under MTERA. I read the statutes and observed that "Nothing is said about it being illegal for the donor or donor's family to receive compensation under MTERA". Of course, it might be covered under some other obscure related law which I am not currently aware of.

Note that MTERA covers only donation from cadavers, i.e. organs/tissues are removed only after the donor passed away. Thus, sale of organs by life donors is not covered under MTERA. Organ donation by life donors is covered under HOTA. That was why HOTA was hotly debated last year over the sale of organs by life donors.