An inquiry conducted by Additional Chief Secretary (Health) Asha Thomas into the alleged lapses that occurred at Thiruvananthapuram Government Medical College hospital, where a patient who underwent renal transplant had died earlier in June, has pointed out that there is a definite lack of coordination between the nephrology and urology departments in conducting the deceased donor organ donation transplant.
Ms. Thomas’s report pins most of the blame on the head of nephrology, who had been away on official duties but who it says had left town without handing over charge or informing the authorities, so that there was none at the top to direct things.
However, the report also states that any speculation that a perceived delay in performing surgery after receiving the cadaver kidney has contributed to the patient’s death is misplaced. It has recommended action against those responsible for not maintaining the protocols.
It was on June 19 that Sureshkumar, a 52-year-old with end-stage renal failure, died at the MCH after he underwent a renal transplant. He had received the kidney from a deceased donor in Ernakulam.
The fact that there were no transplant coordinators to receive the organ when the ambulance arrived and the allegation that there were lapses in the prep work that nephrology/ urology departments should have done had led to allegations that these delays had contributed to the patient’s death.
Doctors had at the time denied that there had been any lapses in conducting the transplant and pointed out that the patient had not been in perfect health when he was called in to receive the organ, a fact which the patient’s family had been informed about.
The head of nephrology and urology departments had been placed under suspension after preliminary inquiry pointed to some lapses in coordination.
The inquiry report also points out that transplant coordinators of the Kerala Network for Organ Sharing were not around to receive the organ and facilitate further procedures. It also pointed to some discrepancies in the Mrithasanjeevani list of patients waiting for organ transplant, that the waiting list had not been updated to prioritise patients on the basis of their health condition.
The report by Ms. Thomas also says that the patients who register for organs and are on the waiting list are not properly followed up by either departments.
Health Minister Veena George said in Kasaragod on Friday that action would be taken against those found responsible for the lapses, as recommended by the report.