Teenagers are renowned for their love of electronic gadgets and their poor judgment, and it seems these two things have come together in a rather unfortunate way for one teen in central China. A 17-year-old high school student apparently traded his kidney for money to buy an iPhone and an iPad. Five people have now been charged with intentional injury after they allegedly organized the removal and transplant of the boy's kidney last April.
The people charged include a surgeon, a hospital contractor, and brokers who found donors online and arranged for an operating room in which to conduct the procedure. One of the defendants, He Wei, who appears to have coordinated the whole thing got 220,000 yuan (approximately $35,000) for the transplant. He then gave the boy 22,000 yuan (about $3,500) for his kidney. Ugh. When the boy returned home with a new iPhone and iPad, his mother asked him how he'd been able to pay for them, and he explained to her he'd sold one of his kidneys. Talk about a parent's worst nightmare!
A Chinese newspaper reported that the sale of kidneys for reasons such as paying off large debts, buying a smartphone, or paying for an abortion for a girlfriend have been reported. This case has caused growing public concern that materialism is poisoning the minds of the youth. The Communist Party paper, for instance, wrote:
Without facing complete hardship, these young people born after the 1990s made rash decisions. In the choice between their bodies and materialism, they resolutely chose the latter. In today's society where desires are infinite and demands are boundless ... blindly competing with others in the pursuit of high-end "technology" will gradually ruin lives.
Hmm, maybe, but there's also a huge number of people who need organs in China, and there aren't nearly enough people donating them. So the conditions are ideal for this kind of black market activity. Sadly, while he may have gotten the electronics he wanted, in the end this decision seems to have cost him a lot more than he gained. He's reportedly been suffering from "renal insufficiency," which is a decreased level of kidney function, and his condition is apparently deteriorating.