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HomeLegal NewsViolation of organ transplantation norms in Kerala

Violation of organ transplantation norms in Kerala

Court initiates criminal proceedings against Private hospital & 8 doctors

Kochi : The Court of Judicial First Class Magistrate Eldos Mathew CA has decided to initiate criminal proceedings against a prominent private hospital here and eight doctors for the offence of unauthorised removal of organs of an accident victim back in 2009. The victim, Abin V J, had met with an accident on November 29, 2009 when his motorcycle rammed an electric post and he sustained head injuries.By December 1, 2009, he was declared brain dead, his vital organs were harvested and the liver transplanted into a foreign national, according to the complaint.The complainant Dr Ganapathy alleged the denial of proper treatment to the accident victim, declaring him brain dead without following due procedure as required by the Transplantation of Human Organs (THO) Act 1994 & Transplantation of Human Organs (THO) Rules 1995 and transplanting his organs into a foreign national in violation of the law regulating the same.The accused include the private hospital where the victim died, the neurosurgeons who examined him at the two hospitals he was taken to after the accident and the doctors of the transplantation team.

The court said it was of the view that “there is a prima facie case and sufficient grounds for proceeding in respect of offences under the Transplantation of Human Organs Act, 1994, against all the accused”.”The complainant has complied with all the requirements of the Act. Hence, the case is taken on file. Accordingly, it is directed that summons shall be issued to all the accused,” the court said in its order of May 29.   

The magistrate said that after going through various court rulings, relevant statutes and considering the materials before him, it has emerged that evacuation of blood from the victim’s cranial cavity after the accident could have saved his life.”But there was no effort to drain out the blood, though the victim was examined by neurosurgeons at the two hospitals where he was treated,” the court said. The court also noted that even before planning to conduct neurosurgery or blood evacuation, HIV tests were conducted by Lakeshore hospital.”Even prior to the declaration of brain death, doctors of the transplantation team visited the patient and a liver function test was conducted,” the court further noted.The court also noted that even the Apnoea test, a mandatory examination for determining brain death, was not conducted.It also said the death certificate was not as per the prescribed norms and some of the doctors who signed it were not authorised to do so under relevant laws.It also said the liver of the victim was transplanted into a foreign national without sanction of the internal authorisation committee and in the Malaysian Embassy certificate, wife of the recipient is shown as donor which was “suspicious”.

On the other hand the complainant Dr S Ganapathy alleged that the victim’s relatives were made to believe he was brain dead and thus induced to donate his vital organs. Dr Ganapathy further alleged

that there were several attempts to sabotage the case by changing the officers looking into it and a report was also released, purportedly by the district-level enquiry committee of the DMO, stating there was nothing wrong done by the hospitals or the doctors concerned. Dr Ganapathy said that the alarm bell rang when one of the doctors who had signed the report claimed that she never attended the meeting and her signature was forged. He said that right from the time the victim was referred from Mar Baselios hospital to Lakeshore hospital, the preparations had begun to harvest his organs without even considering saving his life. He claimed “All that cannot happen without the knowledge and approval of the hospitals’ management.”