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Journal retracts Chinese paper because transplanted livers couldn’t be traced

BMJ 2017; 356 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.j746 (Published 10 February 2017) Cite this as: BMJ 2017;356:j746
  1. Owen Dyer
  1. Montreal

A Chinese study of liver transplantation has been retracted by the journal Liver International after its authors failed to persuade editors that 564 livers grafted in the course of the research were not taken from executed prisoners.

Prompted by a letter from an Australian academic that explained the statistical improbability of the livers having been freely donated, editors at the journal sought reassurance from the study’s authors that the organs did not come from prisoners. The authors reiterated a claim made in the article that “all organs were procured from donors after cardiac death and no allografts obtained from executed prisoners were used.”

But when …

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