Humane Society Bowl-A-Thon.
The 2nd Annual
Bowl-A-Thon for the Carthage Humane
Society will be held at Star Lanes in
Carthage tomorrow, August 15 from Noon to
With every $25 in
donations, a participant will bowl two
games free with free shoe rental. Prizes
given will include: Youngest Bowler;
Oldest Bowler; Bowler with most strikes;
Highest Score for both games; Highest
amount of donations; and others. Donation
envelopes are available at Star Lanes
& the Humane Society. For more info,
call Gail at 417-439-7134.
information provided by the Carthage
Humane Society, the organization began in
1948 behind a feed supply store. Ten
years ago the Society built a new
facility with room to house 3,000 cats
and dogs a year. They have reduced the
euthanasia rate from 75% to 25% in six
months. Only animals that are very ill or
those which are judged to pose a danger
to potential owners are put to sleep.
The Society employes
three full time staff and three part
time. Its mission is "to
provide a safe haven for animals
entrusted to our care."
How Did Organ Trafficking
Scheme Stay Hidden?
by Emily Witt, www.ProPublica.com
The arrest of Levy Izhak
Rosenbaum, the Brooklyn resident charged last
month with acting as a "matchmaker" for
buyers and sellers of human organs, spotlights
the issue of live donor organ trafficking in the
United States. It also raises a question: How
could Rosenbaum ply his trade for as long as a
decade, according to statements in the criminal
complaint filed against him, without being
The 1984 National Organ
Transplantation Act states clearly that the
buying and selling of organs is illegal:
Violators face up to five years in prison and a
$50,000 fine. The prohibition is intended to
prevent exploitation of the poor or others who
might be tempted to sell an organ out of
When it comes to enforcing the
law, however, transplant centers are essentially
left to police themselves. The law doesnt
offer guidelines about how transplant centers
should proceed if they suspect a live donor has
"Other countries have
mobilized the justice system around the traffic,
and the U.S. has in my estimation turned a blind
eye," said Nancy Scheper-Hughes, an
anthropologist from the University of California,
Berkeley, who has documented the international
organ trafficking business for more than a
decade. The Daily News in New York reported that
Scheper-Hughes had informed the FBI about
Rosenbaums business seven years before he
was finally arrested.
Some who follow the donation
process arent surprised by the lack of
Alex Capron, a professor of
health care law, policy and ethics at the
University of Southern California, said reports
of potentially illegal organ transactions are
rare within the medical community because doctors
feel bound by a confidential relationship with
"My guess is the doctor
would simply drag his feet, and the patient would
disappear rather than having the police swoop
in," Capron said.
The United Network for Organ
Sharing, a nonprofit organization under contract
with the Department of Health and Human Services,
has established guidelines for members of its
Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network. To
gain membership in the network, which is
mandatory to receive Medicare payments,
transplant centers must demonstrate that they
make sure a recipient isnt purchasing the
organ. They also must have an independent donor
advocate on staff and conduct psychosocial
assessments prior to surgery. The organization
conducts occasional audits to make sure members
But the networks
guidelines dont specify how rigorous an
investigation must be. They state only that the
center should get "confirmation of the
voluntary nature of proceeding with the
evaluation and the donation."
A network spokesman
acknowledged that the burden of proof can vary
from center to center. He also said that tips
about suspicious activity have been passed on to
federal authorities in the past.
Dr. Gabriel Danovitch, medical
director of the kidney transplant program at
University of California, Los Angeles, said that
the process of live organ donation is effectively
governed by trust, and that more regulation could
deter legal donors. Doctors and hospitals know
their reputations would be destroyed if they
broke the law, he said.
"We are not police, and we
are not the FBI, and we do not do, for instance,
Social Security background checks or
identification checks and we havent
found that necessary to do so because we use our
best judgment," Danovitch said.
As an example, he recalled
refusing a suspicious donation of a kidney by a
gardener to his multimillionaire employer.
"It didnt smell right," he said.
The charges against Rosenbaum
go beyond a single illegal exchange. According to
the criminal complaint, he claimed to have been
in the business of brokering live organ sales for
10 years. He allegedly charged the kidney
recipient $150,000 to find a donor.
To justify the cost, the
complaint says, Rosenbaum cited the expense of
medical examinations in Israel, visa fees and the
donors care in recovery. From the
information available thus far in the case,
its unclear who else was involved. The only
other person cited in the complaint is a lab
worker whom Rosenbaum paid in cash to verify
recipients blood types.
Danovitch said there are three
possible scenarios for how such a long-standing
scheme could exist: The hospitals and the doctors
were successfully hoodwinked into believing the
emotional relationship between the donors and the
recipients; they turned a blind eye to signs of
impropriety; or they were complicit.
Danovitch said theres no
evidence that doctors or hospitals have been
complicit in such schemes. If the Rosenbaum case
or others end up revealing systemic wrongdoing,
he said he would support stricter rules and
The criminal complaint alleges
that Rosenbaum helped coach a donor and a
recipient to fool doctors and create a fictitious
relationship. He called it "the easy
part," the complaint says.
investigations by her and by various news
investigations indicate that the sale of live
organs isnt as widespread in the U.S. as it
is in some other countries, but it does exist
"This has been
known," Scheper-Hughes said. "Its
not a secret."
She expressed frustration that
the transplant community worked to keep oversight
"inside the fold."
"Thats just not the
way justice works in the world," she said.