Kidney Donation Denied For Cult Member

AHN/June 5, 2007
By Danielle Godard

Toronto -- An Australian man was denied his request to donate a kidney to a stranger last weekend because of concerns over it being a rite of passage to gain membership into a religious cult, and that the man was not of sound mind.

Ash Falkingham, 22, was returned to Australia without completing his intended kidney donation while in Canada after Toronto General Hospital denied his operation request until a full psychiatric evaluation was completed.

The hospital declined to talk about the case, citing the limitations of privacy law, but a broadcast of Australian Broadcast Company's "Australian Story" program detailed Falkingham's journey to Canada and his hope of eternal salvation through the act.

Reports claim Falkingham's parents pleaded with the hospital to send their son away, claiming he had been brainwashed by a religious group called Jesus Christians, and the hospital agreed to postpone the operation.

Jesus Christians claim donating a kidney to a stranger is the very ultimate test of a person's faith in God.

The intended recipient, Canadian Sandi Sabloff, said on the ABC program that she found Falkingham through a website called Living Donors Online, where they exchanged correspondence for several months before meeting in Toronto.

On Monday she spoke to CanWest about the ordeal, saying in interview that she was "not in good shape."

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