Iowa Senator Sends Letter to UCLA Medical Center Over Transplants
On Friday, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) sent a letter to UCLA Medical Center asking for additional details on liver transplants at the medical center for four patients suspected of being a part of Japanese organized crime groups, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Two of the patients made donations to UCLA of $100,000 each after their surgeries, which took place between 2000 and 2004.
U.S. transplant laws do not prohibit hospitals from performing transplants on people with criminal records, although the rules do encourage programs to limit the number of transplants for foreigners.
Grassley, ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee, said in the letter, "While surgeons do not seek to pass moral judgment on the patients they treat, Americans hope at the very least that foreign criminal figures wait in line along with the rest of us."
Grassley also sent a letter to the FBI, which helped one of the liver recipients obtain a visa to enter the U.S. in 2001, supposedly in exchange for information about potentially illegal Japanese gangs in the U.S. However, the patient failed to provide useful information, a retired FBI official said.
In addition, Grassley sent letters and sought more information from:
- The Joint Commission, which accredits hospitals; and
- The United Network for Organ Sharing, which oversees the U.S. transplant system (Ornstein/Glionna, Los Angeles Times, 6/7).