Red tape surrounding kidney transplants makes woman wait

Feb 16, 2014, 07:45 IST | Anuradha Varanasi

65-year-old patient, who is also diabetic, went through exhausting paperwork to get a green signal from the government twice last year, before finally undergoing her transplant on Wednesday

Patients of a kidney transplant and their relatives dread the never-ending process of getting an enormous pile of paperwork done. A green signal from authorites to schedule a kidney transplant can take months to come, if the donor or recipient is from another state. Sixty five-year-old Sunanda Puthian will vouch for this fact — she had to go through the exhausting procedures twice since last year due to red tapism.

Following those gruelling months, she finally underwent her kidney transplant on Wednesday at Parel’s Global Hospital but only after undergoing several dialysis sessions due to inordinate delay.

A diabetes patient, Puthian was informed in April last year that she had to undergo a kidney transplant. She was lucky enough to find a suitable donor in her younger sister, Pushpa Salam, 60, who lives in Mangalore. But soon, her luck ran out.

“My sister had to travel from Mangalore regularly as we had to complete the verification process with the police officials, among other paperwork, which took four months,” said Puthian. Things got worse when she suffered a heart attack at her Malad residence after appearing for an interview that was essential to get the go-ahead signal from the government.

“We were only a week away from setting a date for her transplant when she started vomiting after we left St George Hospital (in Fort) after her interview,” recalled Sandhya Sawant, her daughter. “The next day we had to get her admitted to the hospital and it was there that we learnt that she had had a heart attack. She had to undergo an angioplasty due to which the kidney transplant had to be delayed,” she added. And to make matters worse, due to the delay in the transplant, Puthian had to undergo dialysis sessions three times a week after her angioplasty.

Speaking to SUNDAY MiD DAY, Dr Bharat Shah, director of the department of nephrology at the Parel hospital said, “We could not conduct the kidney transplant for the next few months due to the anticoagulants given to her following the angioplasty. Also, the kidney transplant was scheduled to take place at Nanavati Hospital (in Vile Parle). So by the time the patient was healthy enough to undergo the transplant, the family was informed that they will have to register and restart the lengthy procedure as two to three months had passed by then and it was going to be done at Global Hospital,” added Dr Shah.

After spending around Rs 4 lakh for the dialysis sessions and her treatment, the family was forced to run from pillar to post to complete the paperwork yet again, which took another three months. The Malad resident finally underwent the kidney transplant on February 12. While a petition filed in the Bombay High Court by doctors scrapped the rule of getting an NOC from the donor or recipients’ respective states last year in July, Dr Shah said the lengthy paperwork still takes upto three to four months. Experts have attributed the delay to the rules of the Human Organ Transplantation Act of 1994 by individual state authorisation committees. “We have written to the directorate of health services to reduce the amount of lengthy paperwork and plan on approaching the HC again if we don’t receive a reply,” said Dr Shah.

In numbers

Rs 5 lakh for kidney transplant Since August 2013, 18 kidney transplants have been conducted at Global Hospital

Go to top