June 12, 2018
COIMBATORE: The Doctors Association in the State has demanded a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation into the organ transplant racket in Tamil Nadu where organs from brain dead persons were given to foreign nationals, by passing Indian patients on the waiting list.
The Union Health Ministry recently found that hearts harvested from the brain dead persons were given to patients from foreign countries, by passing Indians on the waiting list.
According to Prof. Vimal Bhandari, Director, National Organ and Tissue Transplant Organisation (NOTTO), foreign nationals got about 25 per cent of all heart transplants in Tamil Nadu and 33 per cent lung transplants. “There are more than 5,310 Indian patients waiting for organ transplants,” he said.
“The protocol is that an organ should be offered to an Indian first. If no Indian is available, an NRI should be considered. The question of an international patient arises only when both decline an organ offer,” Prof. Bhandari said.
NOTTO is an all-India apex body for coordination and networking for procurement and distribution of organs/tissues and transplantation. It functions under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
Holding the State Welfare Department responsible for the irregularities, Dr. G.R. Ravindranath, General Secretary of Doctors’ Association said the Centre should pass an act to regulate organ transplants. “The entire process should be made transparent in order to avoid such irregularities. People from the economically weaker sections in Tamil Nadu would benefit only if the the Centre brings in a regulation. Currently organs are being offered to patients from other countries for money,” Dr. Ravindranath said.