May 25, 2024


 To the great embarrassment of the Israel Transplantation Society, one of the country’s leading surgeons was arrested in Istanbul in the aftermath of a shootout with police. Some reports said that five people died in the gun battle at an illegal organ transplant clinic, although this is unclear. The incident occurred when police stormed a private hospital to capture four gunmen who had tried to steal cash from black market organ dealings.

As they were being bundled into police cars, the gunmen told local reporters that the hospital had promised to pay a friend for donating some of his organs, but never did.

Professor Zaki Shapira was just a bystander in the gun battle, but he was arrested for participating in illegal organ trading. Police found four patients, two of them apparently Israeli Arabs suspected of selling their kidneys, plus an Israeli and a South African who had bought the kidneys.

Professor Shapira was a pioneer of organ transplants in Israel, but he has been out in the cold since 1996, when he was banned from performing live donor transplantation after being accused of organ trafficking. Since then he has been escorting patients to Turkey. It seems that he was working with a leading Turkish surgeon with a similar record of shady deals, Dr Yusuf S?z. The hospital has been shut down.