Thursday, August 28, 2003

i tell you what, you won't be laughing like a smart-aleck when you wake up sitting in a bathtub without a kidney to your name

(weblog author, right, with dear mother on recent trip)

I just got off the phone with my mother. I will be the first to admit, I should not have gleefully shouted "Ooh, watch out for those kidney thieves!" when she said she was going out grocery shopping. Anyway, after some discussion, we have agreed to disagree about whether the events described in the following message she had earlier forwarded to me actually happened (indeed, is happening right now in the United States) or are one of those so-called "urban "legends"".

-----Original Message-----

From: Ruth Freese
Sent: Thursday, August 28, 2003 10:49 AM
Subject: Fwd: Fw: Warning !!! Scary thing happening. Must read and pass it along
>This is a true story, it has been confirmed, the Medical Centre, in
>Sydney, phone number at the end of this story is real.
>This makes you never want to drink or pick up someone at a night out
>This guy went out on a Saturday night a few weeks ago to a party.
>He was having a good time and had a couple of beers and some
>girl seemed to like him & invited him to go to another party.
>He quickly agreed & decided to go along with her.
>She took him to a party in some apartment and they continued to
>drink,& even got involved with some drug (unknown).
>The next thing he knew, he woke up completely naked in a
>bathtub filled with ice. He was still feeling the effects of the drugs,
>but looked around to see he was alone. He looked down at his chest,
>which had "CALL 000 or YOU'LL DIE written on it with lipstick.
>He saw a phone was on a stand next to the bathtub so he picked
>it up & dialled. He explained to the EMS operator what the situation
>was & that he didn't know where he was, what he took, or why he
>was really calling.
>She advised him to get out of the tub. He did, and he appeared
>normal, so she told him to check his back. He did, he found two
>9 inch slits on his lower back. She told him to get back into the
>tub immediately, and they sent a rescue team over.
>Apparently, after being examined, he found out more of what had
>happened. His kidneys were stolen. They were worth $10,000 each
>on the black market.
>Several guesses are in order: The second party was a sham, the
>people involved had to be at least medical students & it was
>not just recreational drugs he was given.
>Regardless, he is currently in the hospital on a life support,
>awaiting a spare kidney. The university of Sydney in conjunction
>with the Royal Prince Alfred hospital is conducting tissue research
>to match the victim with a donor.
>I wish to warn you about a new crime ring that is targeting business
>travellers. This ring is well organized and well funded, has very skilled
>personnel & is currently operating in most major cities around the world
>and recently very active in Sydney.
>The crime begins when a business traveller goes to a lounge for
>a drink at the end of the work day. A person in the bar walks up as they
>sit alone and offers to buy them a drink. The last thing the traveller
>remembers until they wake up in a hotel room bathtub, their body
>submerged to their neck in ice, is sipping that drink. There is a note
>taped to the wall instructing them not to move and to call 000. A phone
>is on the small table next to the bathtub for them to call. The business
>traveller calls 000 who have been quite familiar with this crime.
>The business traveller is instructed by the 000 operator to very slowly
>and carefully reach behind them and feel there is a tube protruding
>from the back. The business traveller finds the tube and answers "YES".
>The 000 operator tells them to remain still, having already sent paramedics
> to help.
>The operator knows that both of the traveller's kidneys had been harvested.
>This is not a scam or out of science fiction novel. It is real. It is
>documented and confirmable. If you travel or someone close to you travels
>please be careful. Sadly, this is very true. My friend's husband is a Sydney
>EMT and they have received alerts regarding this crime ring. It is to be
>taken very seriously. The daughter of a friend of a fire-fighter had this happen
>to her. Skilled doctors are performing these crimes! which, by the way have
>been highly noted in the Brisbane area). Additionally, the military has received
>alerts regarding this.
>Michele Shafer
>DML/Lab Administration,
>Medical Manager Research & Development,
>99 Missenden RD,
>Sydney 2000
>Fax: (02) 94621505
>PLEASE forward this to everyone you know !

I would try calling the phone number listed, but I don't know how to make international calls on my office phone and am not sure how I could present it if the university-telephone-auditors come crashing through my door.

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