While noting that three of four hearts meant for organ transplant in Chennai were given to foreigners, Professor Vimal Bhandari, director of the National Organ and Tissue Transplant Organisation (NOTTO) has voiced his suspicion about an organ transplant racket in Tamil Nadu.
Bhandari shared his concerns in a Whatsapp group that is set up for organ allocation, The Hindu reported today.
Bhandari has suggested that the Transplant Authority Government of Tamil Nadu (TRANSTAN) form a committee to investigate claims by private hospitals that Indian patients had become ineligible for a transplant because they had developed a fever or cold at the last minute.
While the Transplantation of Human Organs Act of 1994 makes it illegal to buy and sell organs in India, the TRANSTAN guidelines base allocation on the date or registration and medical condition of the recipient. Further, according to the guidelines, allocation is not connected to the wealth, race and gender of the person.
Speaking to the newspaper, Bhandari said, “I think they are bypassing Indian patients and giving to foreigners.”
“Three of four hearts in Chennai were given to foreigners… I was briefed by someone that there is something fishy and we should sort it out. Then we completely stopped going to foreigners for about two months,” he said.
The TN police is presently investigating the circumstances in which the organs were allocated to foreigner.
P Balaji, the former member secretary of the TRANSTAN, who has either been removed or stepped down during the course of the investigation, said allocations were made according to the rules.
The organs, according to Balaji, were given to foreigners after private hospitals confirmed that no Indian patients were eligible because they had developed a fever or due to logistical difficulties.
Balagi told The Hindu, “We have to go by what the transplant surgeon of that hospital says… there is no mechanism to ascertain the genuineness of the claim made by doctors that Indian patients suddenly developed fever or cold.”
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