07:38 GMT +314 November 2019
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    Legal organ transplant issues to be settled soon - minister

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    MOSCOW, April 14 (RIA Novosti) - The legal issues surrounding organ transplants in Russia will be settled in 2006, the health minister said Friday.

    "The government considers heart, kidney and liver transplants a priority, and these issues will be settled this year," Mikhail Zurabov said, adding that the relevant amendments would be introduced in the near future.

    He said Russia needed a database of donor organs and a special system to facilitate the exchange of information.

    Zurabov's statement comes in the wake of a notorious case involving a group of Moscow doctors accused of conducting illegal transplants.

    Irina Lirtsman and Lyubov Pravdenko, of the intensive care unit of Moscow's Hospital No. 20, and Pyotr Pyatnichuk and Bairma Shakdurova, of the city's Coordinating Center for Organ Donation, were indicted two years ago on charges of murdering a patient admitted with severe brain injuries to harvest his organs for transplants.

    Moscow City Court exonerated the doctors, saying there was not enough evidence to prove they had committed the premeditated murder of Anatoly Orekhov, 50. The court said Orekhov had died of severe brain injuries sustained in a car crash, and that the attempted kidney removal followed his death.

    Prosecutors, however, said Orekhov was still alive and had a pulse when police arrived at the hospital and saw the doctors preparing to carry out the transplant.

    The Supreme Court overturned the city court's first acquittal on March 29 and sent the case back for a retrial.

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