UK Farms Human Livers, Germany Harvest Funny Bones
Those living on the Japanese island of Okinawa, the small Sardinian mountain town of Ovodda and Loma Linda in the US are the world’s longest living. So any of them would be top of most people’s lists.
So listen up as David Mayer, chairman of UK Transplant’s Liver Advisory Group, says:
“If we were to provide livers for the world from the UK, then UK patients would be enormously disadvantaged.”
Well, yes. We would have no livers, ours being a nation of some 60million, and the rest of the world having far more bodies to fill with offal. And what with our binge drinking, you’d think the demand just wouldn’t be there. The UK as the world’s liver farming would be like the Germans farming funny bones.
But here’s Professor Nigel Heaton, head of the transplant unit at King’s College Hospital, London, transplanting part of an adult British liver into a boy from one of the Gulf states.
The liver was harvested from an NHS donor; the boy was a private patient. The Telegraph says that “according to national guidelines, livers must be offered to all other NHS centres before they can be given to a patient outside the EU”.
King’s has given livers from UK donors to 22 private patients from Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates in the past five years, earning the hospital more than £4 million from carrying out transplants on overseas patients.
There’s money in liver. But is there not small fear that the liver will contain memories of the donor and his culture? Will the recipient find himself falling foul of his region’s police as he sips a morning livener on the beach then does the dance of the flamin’ arseholes with lovely Armani from Essex?