Eight in court for illegal organ transplants

Eight people, including five doctors, were expected to appear in the Durban Regional Court on Tuesday in connection with illegal organ transplants at Netcare KwaZulu-Natal (NKZ).

Summonses were served on the four surgeons, a doctor, a translator and another two former Netcare employees in October.

This came after NKZ was convicted on charges related to human-tissue crimes last month.

The company pleaded guilty and was fined R4-million for carrying out kidney transplants illegally.

NKZ faced 100 counts on three main charges, including that the hospital’s staff had illegally acquired kidneys between 2001 and November 2003.

It was also charged with performing transplants in which five of the suppliers were minors, and receiving payment for the operations.

Donors — mainly Brazilians — were paid as little as R42 000 to donate their kidneys to Israeli patients.

Netcare’s CEO Dr Richard Friedland was accused of being aware of the illegal transplants and allowing them to continue.

However since the company had pleaded guilty, charges against Friedland were unconditionally withdrawn.

None of those appearing in court on Tuesday are still employed by Netcare. – Sapa

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