Scrutiny and reality

Published : Oct 25, 2002 00:00 IST

THE law states that the Authorisation Committee, before granting approval for the transplantation, should interview both the donor and the recipient and satisfy itself that they have complied with all legal requirements.

The committee is expected to ensure, among other things, that, in any instance involving a non-relative kidney donor, 1. The donor has not received any payment for his offer; 2. No middlemen are involved; 3. The donor has not offered to donate his kidney for money; and 4. Nobody was involved in negotiating any arrangement for compensating the victim.

But how do illegal donors pass the scrutiny of such committees? A self-confessed mercenary kidney donor, Damodaran Oorali, a tribal labourer of Methotti village in Idukki district, describes the way in which the Authorisation Committee handled his interview.

``The committee members asked me, `Damodaran, why did you agree to donate your kidney like this? You shouldn't give it, it is a shame to do it.' They told me that the kidney was an important organ in our body and that it was a shame that I agreed to donate it. So I replied [as he was tutored by the middleman], `Sir, I don't have a problem in donating it, because I know that a person has two kidneys, that I won't have any problem if I donate one of them, and that I would be able to do any work that I had been doing even after donating a kidney'.

``But the doctor [a member of the committee] continued to tell me, `Damodaran, it is still a shame. Nobody would agree to give a kidney like this.' So I asked him, `Sir, if I back out now, won't the patient to whom I agreed to donate my kidney die? So I have no option but to give'.

``Then for some time the doctor kept quiet, and again he said, `Damodaran, it is not right. Nobody would give it. You cannot give it like that. Why did you agree to do it?'

``I told him, `Sir, there is no point thinking about such things in life.' Finally the committee gave me the sanction to donate and the operation was conducted.''

Another donor, Mathai, from the same village, says: ``The committee asked me why I was donating my kidney. I told them [again, as the middleman had taught him] that the patient had helped me in the past and therefore I wanted to do something in return.

``But then those sitting in the committee said, `No, that is a lie'...

``They said that, but then they sanctioned my case...''

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