ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Illegal Kidney Transplants

Making options other than kidney transplant affordable will help curtail trade in kidneys. 

Trade in kidneys periodically makes the headlines in various parts of the country and the resultant sequence of events follows a set pattern: the exposure of complicity by powerful interests, pious declarations by the government and medical associations, and finally denunciation of police inefficiency. The mastermind of the recent Gurgaon organ racket in which 600 illegal transplants were carried out over a decade turned out to be a doctor arrested by the Mumbai police in 1994, who had subsequently jumped bail and simply shifted operations to Jaipur. In October 2007, the Mumbai police arrested a nephrologist and his touts for their involvement in over 700 illegal kidney transplants in three major Chennai hospitals.

Obviously these are only a few of the rackets that come to light. The modus operandi of the middlemen is invariably the same. Poor jobseekers and the destitute are induced to “donate” their kidneys with the lure of being paid between Rs one and three lakhs, only to find that they are lucky if they receive even a few thousand rupees. In all the rackets that have come to light it is poor tribals, victims of natural disasters and the desperate who are lured or coerced into donating their organs. Nor is being cheated out of a vital organ and the money promised their only suffering. They do not receive the post-operative medical care that is required after such donations and invariably find that their earning potential is badly affected due to ill-health. Those who get caught in the public glare of the exposed rackets find themselves in jail for illegal sale of organs.

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