We cry hoarse about commercial transactions between donor and recipient being unethical and against the law. Is the law humane if it asks those who do not have any donor to die quietly and not to make a fuss. 5000 kidney transplantations are performed every year in India whereas 1.5 lac kidney transplantations are needed to be done every year in the country. Where do the rest of the patients go. Some continue with dialysis for few years, the high and mighty in the country go abroad to get the transplantation done but majority simply die of “natural” causes. Are patients of kidney failure not citizens and do not have a right to life as enshrined under article 21 of the constitution.

In the high decibel press coverage of the Hirandani Hospital Mumbai Kidney Racket a small footnote has been over looked. The Surat based trader Brijkishore Jaiswal who was the prospective recipient of the transplant, died after being granted bail probably from “natural causes” promoted ofcourse by the tender loving care of Maharashtra Police. The prospective transplant was to be performed by forging the identification documents of the propective donor who was shown as his wife . Rekhdevi the prospective donor was actually a destitute mother of 5 children. This death of the prospective recipient who for reason that he did not have a bonafied kidney donor as per existent law needs introspection.

What is if I may dare to ask is so horribly criminal in a commercial kidney transplantation except that it offends our sensibilities which otherwise are not offended by the deaths of the likes of Mr Brijkishore Jaiswal. The criminality comes from Human Organ Transplantation Act. If it was not illegal , the rights and interests of donors and recipients could both be safe guarded. There would be no trickery and a destitute otherwise struggling with life could pay off the loan taken by her deceased husband and feed her family simultaneously saving a life . We talk of human rights when actually in our country animals have better protection of their rights.

I know I am going against the tide when I say that HOTA needs a rethink. If two families can be saved by an act then the act cannot and should not be illegal.

Dr Neeraj Nagpal 
Convenor,Medicos Legal Action Group, Managing Director MLAG Indemnity, 
Ex President IMA Chandigarh
Director Hope Gastrointestinal Diagnostic Clinic,
1184, Sector 21 B Chandigarh 
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