Indonesian teenager apologises for online kidney sale

INDONESIA - Fahmi Rahadiansyah, 19, a resident of Caru kampung, Telagasari subdistrict, Balaraja district of Tangerang regency, has publicly expressed his regret over putting his kidney up for sale on informal online forum

"I want to apologise to the public. I have taken down my ad from the website. What I did shocked my family," he told journalists at his house on Thursday.

Fahmi admitted that his parents scolded him after they had heard the news about his ad on the website, saying that what he had done embarrassed his family.

"We would never sell our organs for money even though we are poor," said Fahmi's mother, Rohaeni Jasmin.

Fahmi's father, Diki Akhmadi, a retired civil servant, admitted that he had experienced a stroke, which made it difficult for him to speak, and high blood pressure over the past few years.

The only child of Diki and Rohaeni of Tangerang said that his father's costly medical expenses to treat his high blood pressure pushed him to resort to the extreme measure of posting the message on the website. He offered his kidney for Rp 50 million (S$6,400).

He said some forum visitors contacted him and made offers of between Rp 5 and 10 million.

Earlier, he said that he most recently spent Rp 2.5 million on his father's treatment a few weeks ago at a community health centre in Balaraja, Tangerang, and another Rp 1.5 million on each intensive neurological therapy session. He said his father needed at least three therapy sessions a month.

Fahmi, an assistant to a medical doctor at a small clinic in Bandung, West Java, earns Rp 1 million a month, while his father receives Rp 800,000 a month from his pension.

He said his family had also sold their valuables to cover Diki's medical expenses.

In response to the news, outgoing Tangerang Regent Ismet Iskandar said he regretted that Fahmi had gone that far.

"We have never heard about his family's difficulties in paying for [Diki's] medical treatments, but posting an ad on the Internet to sell your kidney is embarrassing," Ismet said.

Ismet said that the regency administration would have understood Fahmi's extreme measure had he lodged complaints to the administration and was ignored.

"We have health programs that are reserved for impoverished families. We could have helped them [if they had told us earlier]," he said, adding that he had ordered the Health Agency and other related institutions to take care of the matter.