Egyptian authorities shut clinic linked to kidney transplant trade
A private hospital in central Egypt has been closed down and three people are under investigation after authorities uncovered an illegal trade in transplanted kidneys, medical and legal sources said.
Egyptian Deputy Minister of Health Saad Maghraby told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa that a hospital located in the country's Giza region was shut after the ministry discovered a 26-year-old Egyptian man about to sell his kidney to a 75-year-old Saudi for 2,000 dollars, reported dpa.
The Egyptian prosecutor general is investigating the alleged donor, Abdullah Ahmed Abdullah, would-be recipient Mohamed al- Hajry and the hospital's owner, Magdy Soliman, legal sources told dpa.
Maghraby said al-Hajry had paid a total of 60,000 dollars to the hospital to undergo surgery. The total amount was to be distributed among the hospital owner and the team performing the transplant.
The ministry first uncovered the case early Monday, just hours before Abdullah would have lost his kidney, Maghraby said.
The Egyptian official said the ministry had evidence in the form of a written agreement between the donor and recipient to undergo surgery in return for money.
The donor, however, on Tuesday recanted previous statements to the prosecution, saying instead that he went to the hospital for "a blood test."
"It's not the first time that we've heard that this hospital has been performing illegal operations. The problem lies in the difficulty in overseeing and uncovering such incidents," Maghraby said.
"The hospital performs illegal surgery, such as kidney and liver transplants in the dawn hours and releases the patients to a nearby by house two hours after the operation," he said, adding that the ministry had previously warned the hospital's owner to improve sanitation standards and medical equipment.
Trading in organs for money is strictly illegal in Egypt, but many underprivileged Egyptians wanting to pay off debts or get ahead financially are lured into selling their kidneys by illicit contractors in their villages.