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‘Doctors being made scapegoats; transplants will come to a halt if harassment continues’

By Mahesh Limbani May 21, 2022

The Indian Society of Nephrology (ISN) has joined the Indian Society of Organ Transplantation (ISOT) in condemning the “unnecessary harassment of doctors” in light of the case of alleged malpractices in kidney transplant at Pune’s Ruby Hall clinic. Doctors from ISOT and other associations said that organ transplant professionals are neither required to certify the relationship between a donor and a recipient nor are they competent to assess financial involvement between the two parties.

“Doctors are being made scapegoats here,” said Dr Sunil Shroff, President of ISOT. “We need to sit down with authorities and if there is a need for a policeman to come on board and verify someone’s identity, so be it. However, tarnishing the doctors’ image is not the solution.

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Filing an FIR is not the solution,” said Dr Shroff. “The law is clear but it is unfortunate that some loose statements are made by the Maharashtra Advocate General on racket between doctors and patients for organ transplants. Time and again we have seen that doctors are soft targets and there will be a day when due to all this controversy, transplants will come to a halt,” Dr Shroff added.

“In the present case, there is a video recording between donor and recipient confirming their relationship. Now, should we start questioning the original documents certified by government agencies?” a doctor said. Dr Vivek Kute, Secretary of ISOT, said that there is a need for more than 1.5 lakh organ transplants but in one year, less than 15,000 organ transplants are performed. Around 12,000 kidney transplants are performed everywhere but the need is much higher, Dr Kute added.

“Now, expecting the professional doctors involved in organ transplants to be able to conduct documentary diligence by scrutinising each and every document and spot a fake or forged one with a forensic eye is something which they are not trained in, nor is it expected of them,” President Elect of ISOT Dr Georgi Abraham said.

“Making an underlying assumption that those who fail to do so will be punished as abettors of crime and accomplices of criminals is a wrong-footed move which is very likely to have disastrous consequences for public health in general. If that were to happen, it is not unlikely that doctors who are trained to perform transplantation may reduce their practice, and students of medicine may not opt for training in transplantation and look at less risky specialisations altogether,” Dr Abraham added.

Meanwhile, the Crime Branch of the Pune City police has taken over the probe into the alleged malpractices in the kidney transplant conducted at Ruby Hall Clinic in March in which a woman was allegedly presented as the organ receiver’s wife and was also promised Rs 15 lakh in return.

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