The group removed the liver and kidneys from 11 people at a hospital in Anhui Province between 2017 and 2018. The families of the deceased were deceived into believing they were officially donating organs and the operations were carried out inside a fake ambulance, according to reports.
Four high-ranking doctors are said to be involved.
Victims of car accidents or patients with brain hemorrhage were targeted at Huaiyuan County People’s Hospital in Anhui, it was reported.
The defendants were reportedly jailed for between 10 and 28 months.
Yang Suxun, the head of the hospital’s intensive care unit, approached the families with fake consent forms and asked if they would donate the deceased’s organs.
Doctors were removing the organs from the back of a van that looked like an ambulance after they were taken out of the hospital overnight.
Reports say the organs would then be sold to individuals or other hospitals.
These would be contacted secretly by members of the trafficking network.
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China has struggled to meet requests for organs thanks to voluntary donations from the public.
Chinese state media estimate that an average of 300,000 Chinese patients need transplants each year.
Only about 16,000 transactions – five percent of demand – will likely be completed.
The country previously harvested organs from executed prisoners to meet demand.
This was stopped in 2015.
In 2019, a study published by the journal BMC Medical Ethics said that the data sets provided by the Chinese government on organ donation showed “very convincing evidence of their tampering.”
The BMC Medical Ethics document claimed that China’s organ transplant industry was difficult to trace.