The tourist who woke up with no kidneys-Fiction!

Traveler Wakes Up in a Bathtub of Ice to Discover Both of His Kidneys Have Been Stolen



Summary of eRumor:

There are various versions (such as the one below), but they all talk about a traveling businessman or a tourist who becomes involved with someone from the area where he is visiting.  The next thing he remembers, he’s awakening in a bathtub full of ice.  He either reads a note that informs him that his kidneys have been harvested for an organ transplant, or he picks up the phone and reaches either the hotel operator or the police.  Through the phone call, he learns that his kidneys have been removed by medical crooks and he discovers the stitched wounds where the surgery took place.  Emergency personnel arrive on the scene to give him first-aid and take him to a hospital where he is described as being on a transplant waiting list.

The Truth:

This is a story that has been so widely circulated and for so long, that it is regarded by researchers as a classic urban legend.  There is not a documented case of a tourist being drugged and hijacked by medical thieves.  The person who’s name is at the bottom of the email below, by the way, is not the originator of the email.  Her name is being falsely attached to a large number of the emails being sent about this story. A real story that is related
Interestingly, there is a reported case of a stolen kidney, but not to an unwary tourist.  BBC reporter Sue Lloyd Roberts has done a special report on the buying and selling of human organs In Turkey (BBC 1/8/01).  She says that the Moldovan village of Minghia has become known as the world’s best source human kidneys.  That’s because villagers have been willing to sell one of their kidneys to surgeons who make a profit on them for transplant patients, especially in Israel.  Roberts tells the story of a young engineer who went to Istanbul on the promise of a job.  When he got there, he was told that the job was no longer available, but that he could get some cash by selling some of his blood.  Apparently he was not suspicious that giving blood would be treated as a surgical procedure, but when he awakened, he had a scar and a missing kidney and was told that he could get the going rate for Moldovan kidneys, $3,000. 

Last updated 8/4/01