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New Rules for Children's Organ Transplants
The Ministry of Health and Social Development of Russia has developed instructions regulating the transplantation of organs to children. At present, child donors are prohibited, but the ministry plans to legalize such operations next year. Doctors say that lifting that prohibition will help hundreds of patients, but some activists are worried by the plans.
According to the Moscow Organ Donation Coordinating Center, 30 percent of the 5000 Russians who need organs transplants each year are children. That is about 200 children per year who need kidneys, 100 who need livers and 150 who need hearts. Most developed countries allow children to be organ donors after their deaths. Russians are forced to take their children abroad for such operations, if they can afford it. Few can, however, since a liver transplant, for example, costs $100,000.
The Health Ministry plans to make instructions for organ transplants from children based on brain death, and with the permission of the child's parents. Some are opposed to this, however. Alexander Saversky, head of the public council on the defense of patients' rights, said, “People are in comas several years, sleeping a lethargic sleep. I think they cannot be denied their chances for survival.” Kirill Danishevsky, president of the Society for Evidentiary Medicine, said, “It cannot be excluded that transplantation doctors will abuse their function and harvest organs from children without their parents' permission.”