Bearman Cartoon: Don Vitostein

Matchmaker, Matchmaker make me a match.

Some of you may not have heard but there was a big roundup of conterfeiters, rabbis, politicians and organ smugglers. (see here and here)  It seems one part of this bust was around a group who would find people down on their luck in Israel, give them $10,000, bring them to the US for surgery and then sell the kidney to an American for $160,000.

Under 1984 federal law, it is illegal for anyone to knowingly buy or sell organs for transplant. The practice is illegal just about everywhere else in the world, too.

But demand for kidneys far outstrips the supply, with 4,540 people dying in the U.S. last year while waiting for a kidney, according to the United Network for Organ Sharing. As a result, there is a thriving black market for kidneys around the world.

One rabbi was at the forefront while others laundered money from this operation and others through their charities.

Two things come to mind while reading about this.

1.  Do we allow the open selling of organs?  IE if I have a healthy organ and I want to sell it to make money, it is my body shouldn’t I be allowed?  I say NO.  Just as in this case, there were many “volunteers” who were coerced.  I think it ends up doing more harm than good.

2.  How could someone who says they are religious get involved in this?  My feeling is that any group you find, there will be the righteous, the average, and the not so righteous.   I don’t care if they are religious or not.  To which some will say that the religious are then hypocrites.  No…you can’t stereotype every religious person based on the actions of a group of them.

 7 25 09 Bearman Cartoon Kidney Rabbi copy


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  1. AndyCarolan says:

    I personally dont think that organs should be sold at all, sure if someone want to donate something to help a fellow human, then fine but as with many things these days this is just another example of greed and exploitation [/rant]

  2. David says:

    Wow! I must be in the wrong business (not meaning the rabbi business, per se). But seriously, when demand far outweighs supply, especially when it’s something as valuable as health then people will resort to this stuff.

  3. Nate Fakes says:

    I’ll sell my left toe nail to you for a buck-fifty. Meet me in the alley at 5 past midnight (the one behind Arby’s)

  4. spilledinkguy says:

    HA! I LOVE your Don Corleone! I know it was you who sold my kidney … you broke my … excretory system!

    (I guess that would be Michael not Vito … but … eh)! 🙂

  5. duncanr says:

    Interesting post, BM, that raises some ‘moral/ethical’ questions

    I’m with you with regard to being against the selling of body parts – it can lead to some dodgy characters getting up to some evil deeds (eg Burke & Hare, Edinburgh, 19th Century)

    BUT – once you pay people money in return for donating blood, or sperm, how do you argue against them donating a kidney in return for money?

    • Interesting hadn’t heard of them…more here for those interested. Reminded me of HH Holmes since I read Devil in the White City last year.

      The difference between selling blood or sperm is that they are a replenishable resource. Kidneys not so much.

  6. John K says:

    this is freaking brilliant! the whole story has me in shock, and reaffirms that new jersey is all kinds of messed up, and your comic captures that! Cheers!

  7. Lynn says:

    your cartoon is timely and SPOT ON bearman!! awesome post.

  8. George says:

    Very interesting comic and blog, B! I really like your Brando. You’re spot on with that one. You’re Rabbi is good too. He looks a lot happier than the ones I run into (away from?). But when I guess when you’re slangin’ harvested body parts, you’d better wear a smile. 🙂

    I’ve got a strip dealing with the subject of selling organs comin’ up soon, but I swear I didn’t steal it from you. Great minds….and all that, remember? 🙂

  9. I have a uterus and a couple of ovaries I’m willing to sell for the right dollar, but they will need to be removed from the property immediatly. They’re slightly used.

    • Can we start the bidding at $10….anyone give me ten?

    • George says:

      Don’t call ’em used, Claire. We re-sellers prefer the term ‘antique’. 🙂

      • Geez George.

        Can we go with vintage instead of antique? Good lord, I suddenly felt grey hairs pop out. They’re in good shape. The uterus was only used 4 times ever. Very low miles.

        I’ll start the bidding at ten Bear. I’ll pay someone to take them!

    • fnord says:

      Hmmm, I guess I donated mine although I don’t remember there being an option. At least they aren’t my worry any longer. 🙂

  10. alantru says:

    I can get you organ meat or an organ. Just let me know… Call me at 3am!

  11. yorksnbeans says:

    Someone was making a fantastic profit! Just another example of U.S. greed….errr entrepeneurship.

  12. “I made him a organ he couldn’t refuse.”

  13. fnord says:

    Great cartoon! Good thoughtful post too.

  14. hahaha. so i was laying in bed. it was like 8 am. and i’d gone to bed at 5 am, so i was freakin tired. i couldn’t fall back asleep so i turned on the news. I was drifting in and out of consciousness and then finally turned the tv off. when i woke up, i was like, DANG, i had the weirdest dream about priests and jewish people and stealing kidneys.

    then my mom called later and asked me if i’d heard the news.

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