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Organ donations under scanner

Decision to ward off exploitation in public and private sector hospitals

January 25, 2017 02:25 am | Updated 02:25 am IST - Thiruvananthapuram:

The government has decided to bring the entire organ transplant scenario in the State — live and deceased donor organ transplants happening in both public and private sector hospitals — under the scanner, in an attempt to bring better accountability and transparency to the process of organ donation.

The decision has been taken following concerns and speculations raised by various quarters about the possibilities of exploitation, especially in the case of live donor organ transplants, and to ensure that deceased donor organ donation programme in the State does not suffer.

The concerns raised by a doctor, S. Ganapathy, before the High Court, regarding the organ donation process and the procedures involved in brain death certification, has also been considered by the government.

No data

It is indeed a fact that while the deceased donor organ donation programme in the State is being coordinated by the government through Kerala Network for Organ Sharing (KNOS), the government has absolutely no data on the number of living donor organ transplants happening in the private sector hospitals across the State. Approximately 1,000-1,200 live kidney donations and less than 500 live liver donations are performed in the State annually. There is no exact data on the number of live donations, the health status of the donor, and the survival data of those who received the organs in the private sector.

Keep KNOS in the know

“We have decided to keep a tab on all organ transplants in the State. All private hospitals will henceforth have to inform KNOS the details about the live donor transplants they perform. Those hospitals which do not furnish the information stand to lose their transplant centre licence. Despite the speculations raised about the possibilities of exploitation, none of the private hospitals have been willing to volunteer information on their organ transplants,” a senior health official told The Hindu .

KNOS will thus maintain a central registry of all live and cadaver organ donations in the State, including details of donors and recipients, he added

A clause to be dropped

The government has also decided to drop the clause in the Organ Transplant Rules that in the event of an inpatient in a private hospital suffering brain-death, the hospital can prioritise all organs among its own patients, excepting one kidney, which alone need to be shared in the general pool. One of the allegations raised in the court case was that private hospitals were making approximately ₹1.5 -2 crore from every brain-dead patient through organ donation, as they could “trade” all organs excepting one kidney.

“We admit that this condition needs to be dropped to ensure that organs are allocated to transplant patients judiciously, according to their priority on the waiting list,” the official said.

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