Organ donor pamphlet a hoax

How much do you think your eyes would be worth, or perhaps a second-hand spleen?

These were the type of questions many Cape Town residents pondered when they were approached by a woman at Tyger Valley, last week, who handed them a pamphlet about the services of the New Day Clinic.

Read: Organ donors remembered

The woman was wearing a surgical mask and white latex gloves and handed pamphlets to motorists, with a tagline, ‘Where you can get the body part you want within a week’ and ‘Transplants offered at their world-class medical facility’.

The Sandton Chronicle investigated the company’s website. It charges an impressive R3.5 million for a kidney; R2 million will get you a liver and you can pay R1.5 million for a heart. A pair of eyeballs and a coronary artery will cost you R20 000 each and a patch of skin will set you back R140 per cm².

Various body parts have different values with a whopping R3.5 million charged for a kidney.

According to the website, the clinic is based in Cape Town and the leading transplant surgeon, Doctor Anton Wright, specialises in kidney, liver, heart and pancreas transplants and he is apparently the co-director of the Life Exchange Research Programme. The website states it has ‘unprecedented access to human organs and tissues’ however the question remains, where are they getting these body parts from?

Upon further investigation, it was uncovered that the only doctor listed is Wright. And the only Doctor Antony Wright found is a dentist based in Johannesburg with no information coming up about a ‘life exchange research programme’.

The phone number provided took the caller to voice mail with no other information provided and the website’s domain name was bought via a proxy.
Many believe this is all a hoax and an elaborate campaign to promote a new local medical thriller called Bypass, directed by Shane Vermooten and starring Cape Flats-born Natalie Becker and Hakeem Kae-Kazim.

Read: Jam SA donor appreciation evening is held in Fourways to thank all those who give to the organisation

Elizabeth Strydom commented on social media, “All those who hate the campaign… it made you feel exactly how they wanted you to.”

Whether an elaborate publicity stunt or not, it does highlight the ever-increasing problem of organ trafficking in Africa.

Director Shane Vermooten was unavailable for comment.

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Jessica Knibbs

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