Chinese man disabled for life after selling kidney to buy iPhone

Xiao Wang was only 17 years old when he
decided to sell one of his kidneys in order to buy the iPhone 4 he couldn’t
otherwise afford.

After the operation Wang was told he was
going to have a normal life with just one kidney, but almost eight years on,
the 24-year-old is permanently disabled and dependent on dialysis.

Back in 2011, the iPhone 4 was Apple’s
flagship smartphone and a status symbol at Xiao Wang’s school in Chengzhou,

 However, he came from a poor family who
couldn’t afford to buy him the trendy gadget, so he decided to sell one of his
healthy organs in order to get his hands on enough money to buy the coveted

With help from a middleman, Wang got in
touch with shady characters that specialized in trading organs on the black
market and agreed to sell one of his kidneys for 22,000 yuan ($3,200), more
than enough to buy the iPhone 4 he so badly desired. Unfortunately, this
foolish decision would completely ruin his life.

The 17-year-old figured that he only needed
one of his kidneys to survive and the dubious doctor he met before the
operation confirmed that he would be able to lead a normal life with just one
of his organs.

The procedure was carried out in an illegal
hospital in Chenzou, and even though it was considered a success at the time,
health complications arose soon after.

“Unfortunately, the operating environment
wasn’t sanitized properly, which led to an infection on his wound,” Oriental
Daily recently reported. “Worse still, Wang’s family were kept in the dark
about his kidney removal operation and only found out about it when the teen
couldn’t hide his health problems any longer.”

Because he didn’t dare tell his parents
what he had done (and what for), the infection spread to his remaining kidney,
and by the time his family took him to a proper hospital for treatment, the
damage to his kidney was so severe that the only possible way to ensure his
survival was permanent dialysis.

Xiao Wang has spent most of his life since
then in bed, dependent on the dialysis machine that’s keeping him alive but at
the same time greatly shortening his life-span.

After hearing Wang’s story about how he
sold his kidney on the black market to buy an iPhone 4, his parents tracked
down and sued the middleman and the doctor who performed the operation. They
eventually received a sizable compensation of 2.2 million yuan ($320,000) most
of which has been spent on the 24-year-old’s expensive treatments and drugs.

It’s unclear if Xiao Wang ever got to buy
that iPhone he traded his kidney for, or if he still has it. Not that any of
that matters, anyway. I guess the moral of the story is that very few things
are worth risking your life for, and an Apple iPhone is definitely not on the

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