Houston, TX 77005
6:00 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 10, 2013
On Campus | Alumni
Part of the 2013-2014 Gray/Wawro Lectures in Gender, Health, and Well-being. Free and open to the public. On October 27, 2011, Levy Itzhak Rosenbaum, a Brooklyn based international transplant broker, pleaded guilty in a Trenton, NJ federal courtroom to organizing the sale and transfer of kidneys purchased from poor Israelis trafficked into the US, to supply the needs of foreign and US transplant patients. Rosenbaum, who organized more than a hundred illegal transplants in some of the best hospitals in the US, stood alone in the courtroom. With whom did the organ broker conspire? This lecture, based on more than a decade of ethnographic and investigative research into international criminal networks of transplant trafficking, compares state and criminal justice responses to transplant trafficking in Brazil, South Africa, Moldova, Turkey, and Kosovo. In these concurrent prosecutions the indicted include blood technicians, hospital administrators, medical corporations, insurance executives, kidney buyers (recipients), translators, travel agents, safe house operators, transplant coordinators and transplant surgeons. The charges include organized crime, human trafficking, fraud, and contravening organ and tissue laws. Only in South Africa, however, were transplant surgeons charged with physical assault on the bodies of kidney sellers, some of whom were minors. This talk will explore the moral reasoning, defense, and the limits of responsibility and culpability of transplant surgeons who, knowingly or not, filled the role of bystander, witness, collaborator, or facilitator of international transplant trafficking.