Every teenager wants the latest piece of tech. Whether it be the latest Apple or Samsung phone, the latest tablet, laptop, television, pair of earphones, GoPro, or fitness watches. Oftentimes, they will go to extreme measures to get these items, and one young man went just a step too far.
Xiao Zheng from the Anhui Province, China, was just 17 in 2011 when he decided that he just had to have the iPad 2. The only way he could afford to buy it, however, was to sell one of his kidneys. Eight years later, and the complications suffered by the now-25-year-old have left him requiring round-the-clock care, The Telegraph reported.
At the time, Zheng had not wanted his family to find out about the surgery he was foolishly planning on undergoing, so he traveled to the south of China to the Hunan Province, where it was agreed that he would receive 22,000 yuan (approximately $2,500) to give his kidney.
“At the time, I wanted to buy an iPad2, but I didn’t have any money. When I was on the internet, I had a kidney agent send a message, saying that selling a kidney can give me 20,000,” he explained.
The practice of selling organs is highly illegal, but a popular one in China among people desperate for money.
Official statistics in the country indicate that more than a million people in China need organs to save their lives every single year, but few people are actually registered donors in the country. The result is that organ donations stand only around 10,000 per year, less than a single percentage point of the people that need organs.
The result is thousands of organs being sold on the black market every year, with people desperate for money, or an iPad 2, going under the knife for medically unnecessary and dangerous procedures.
While Zheng had kept the surgery from his family, they quickly realized something was wrong when he returned home. Not only was he carrying with him a brand new laptop and iPad, but a bright red scar on his abdomen. Poor post-op care also meant that his incision site became horribly infected, and his condition quickly deteriorated as his remaining kidney started to fail.
At 25, Zheng suffers from renal deficiency, and will not survive without being hooked up to a dialysis machine every single day. Because he is also bedridden and unable to work, he is forced to live off benefits.
Sometimes that piece of tech is just not worth the price you’re going to pay for it.