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Transplantation laws violated in Bangalore Hospitals

Image Source: Practo

Aaditya Narayan
Bangalore, 22 Sept, 2016: Only 16 out of 30 hospitals in Bangalore, authorized to perform organ transplants have transplantation coordinators.
The Transplantation of Human Organs Act, 1994 says that no organization or individual can remove an organ from a human body without authorization.

One of the guidelines laid down by the act is that it is mandatory for all recognized transplant centers to have counseling mechanisms. The act also says that hospitals found guilty of violating any of the guidelines are liable to have their transplantation license cancelled.

The Zonal Coordination Committee of Karnataka for Transplantation (ZCCK) is a government-appointed body that oversees the process and coordinates between hospitals for transplants.

The yearly distribution of nephrological transplants in Karnataka

Dr. G.K. Venkatesh, member of the executive committee of the ZCCK said, “The ZCCK is a body that oversees the process of transplants. We are not authorized to take action against violators of transplantation guidelines. The number of transplants is increasing again after a fall in 2013 and 2014. So now, more than before, it is imperative taht hospitals have exclusive transplantatio”

Dr. Prem Kumar K, Urologist at the Fortis Hospital, Bannerghatta Road said, “We do not have a transplantation counselor on paper, but the doctors in-charge of transplants double up as counselors and guide the patients’ families as best as is possible.”

The situation is similar at Mallya Hospital too. Dr. Arun K.N., Chief Nephrologist there said, “The kin of the patient can approach the doctors for any grievances, and the doctors themselves are equipped enough to deal with additionally being transplant coordinators”.

Ms. Patricia, a coordinator at the ZCCK said it was difficult for them to coordinate between hospitals when the doctors themselves are the transplant coordinator. She said, “The doctors have so much else on their hands that communicating with them for transportation of organs is very difficult. Sometimes we are not even able to reach them”.

For the families of patients, the transplantation process is sometimes difficult to comprehend. Mrs. Kavita K., whose husband recently underwent a bone marrow transplant said, “The doctors did guide us on what has to be done, but they have other work too, and we had to do a lot of research ourselves to ensure that we had all the guidelines being adhered to, after the surgery.” Mrs. Kavita added that this was a luxury not all families would have.

One of the main roles of the transplant coordinator is to take a bit of the workload off the doctors. Dr. Sushruta C.S., Professor, Department of Surgical Gastroenterology, Bangalore Medical College and Research Institute said, “A transplant coordinator acts as a grief counselor to the patient’s family. But that is not the only responsibility. They coordinate between hospitals, between the doctor and the patient’s family, and also once the organ is removed, they coordinate with the police for procedures like the post-mortem.”

He said hospitals without a coordinator should have their transplant permits cancelled immediately. Dr. Sushruta added that doctors should be allowed to concentrate on their primary roles instead of being burdened with extra work.

He also said, “Today, even a nursing degree is sufficient to become a transplant coordinator. So, a doctor really should not be having that additional responsibility.”

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