2015 | Timothy Caulfield, Wilma Duist, Mike Bos, Iris Chassis, Igor Codreanu, Antonia Cronin, Gabriel Danovitch, John Gill, Ninoslav Ivanovski, Milbert Shin

In this paper, we outline the potential role of physicians during three key phases of the physician patient interaction. The first is the phase when the patient is investigating all the clinical options, including the possible purchase of an organ. The second phase is when the patient has made up his mind and has chosen to pursue the purchase of an illegal transplant. And the third phase is post-transplantation. Below we briefly explore the legal and ethical tensions at each phase and offer recommendations on how best to negotiate the relevant professional norms. While there are healthcare professionals involved throughout the organ trafficking process, the focus in this paper is on the role of physicians with patients considering the illegal procurement of an organ. It should also be noted that while the focus of our analysis has been on ways to eliminate the trafficking in human beings for the purpose of organ removal (THBOR), this paper considers illegal organ transplantation on a broader scale. This is because physicians may not be aware if THBOR is involved in their particular patients’ situation. As such, from the perspective of the relevant physician, and for the purposes of this paper, the most salient issue is the decision by a patient to purchase an organ. Of course, addressing this broader issue also helps to address the critical issues associated with THBOR.