Mumbai: The recent revelations of kidney transplant rackets has indeed taken the medical profession by the jolt. With the recent arrest of 5 doctors at the city’s prestigious Hiranandani Hospital including the CEO of the hospital, the police is now refusing to release them off the police custody till Saturday.
This comes after the report of a three-member inquiry committee instituted by the state health department to probe the racket which found doctors of the hospital negligent in terms of scanning patients for transplant .The panel report revealed that Dr Shetty and Dr Shah (surgeons) were allegedly involved in the kidney transplant racket. Their claim of never having met the donor and recipient before the scheduled surgery baffled the committee, with the committee implying that either the concerned doctors being either involved in the racket or being thoroughly negligent in their duties.
Shete refuted the allegations. “Our primary role is to evaluate the patient medically,” he said. “It’s not just the treating doctors, several others are involved in giving the final green signal for the transplant which includes a member from the government.” Shete said that he has been involved with over 300 transplants. The argument indeed points out to the fact that while the transplant surgeons have been found negligent, what about the government members of the panel?
Quick to blame the CEO and medical director of Hiranandani Hospital for allowing the kidney racket to thrive right under their noses, the Directorate of Health Services (DHS) has remained silent on the role of one of its own members who had also signed off on the illegal transplant procedure that eventually blew the lid off the scam.The health official has allegedly gone missing since then, reports Mid-day
Doctors threaten en-masse resignation
While the investigations are still on, with more arrests being in the pipeline, the baffled medical community has indeed shown its concern to the event.
Call it defiance, or just plain fear, it seems like the many a urologist doctors have decided not to perform any more transplants in the future. Pointing out indeed, that it cannot be the doctors job to keep on verifying the documents as well as the relationship between the patients, urologists of the city have informed the DHS that they would halt future transplants, if the government does not provide clarity on the duties of a doctor in transplant cases as well as the fast release of medical practitioners arrested in connection with the kidney racket.
TOI reports that one of the city’s foremost nephrologists and transplant physicians, Dr Viswanath Billa, resigned from the BMC-run Sion Hospital in the wake of the events since the unearthing of the racket.Dr Billa, who is credited with performing the state’s first cadaver kidney transplantation, has been driving the BMC-run hospital’s kidney transplant programme since 2009.
“Many more doctors will move away from the programme. What choice do we have after all?” said urologist Dr Jackie Lalmalani.
Dr Lalmalani said government and police action forced them to take the decision to stop transplants. “The decision is unanimous. Doctors are humiliated and treated like criminals. Is it fair? What tools do doctors have to check the veracity of documents?”