There appears to be a well-organised racket in the sale of kidneys from indigent donors to patients of renal failure in the state. This correspondent met a tout and doctor who offered to bring a donor from a village in Ramanagar taluka, arrange for all the paperwork to pass her off a relative, and carry out the transplantation in a Bangalore hospital - all for Rs10 lakh — to be arranged within a week. The fee can go up to Rs20 lakh, depending on the hospital where the illegal transplantation is performed.
The ban on sale of kidneys can be violated with impunity it seems by a well-knit nexus of doctors, agents and the police. This appears to have been going on for some time now, but not a single agent or doctor has been punished for violation of the Transplantation of Human Organs Act, 1994.
The racket probably also has tentacles in government offices connected with preparing documents such as voter ID card, ration card, and marriage registration certificate to show that the donor is a relative of the patient.
This correspondent pretended to be a relative of a patient from Bangarpet who desperately needed a donor for kidney transplantation. Discreet enquiries at a hospital yielded the phone numbers of two touts from Ramanagar, Mahadeva and Gopal.
Mahadeva was wary at first and kept the correspondent guessing for over a week on the place for meeting to discuss the modalities to arrange for the donor and financial matters. Finally, it was decided that the correspondent would visit a hospital and meet him and the doctor there, with a caution that he should not ask the doctor too many questions on how the donor would be arranged.
Mahadeva was waiting at the hospital along with two apparent bodyguards. As soon as the correspondent reached the place, Mahadeva called up the doctor who came there from another hospital. Initially the doctor was suspicious, but he relaxed after a few minutes of asking the correspondent for particulars. He said he had arranged for a number of such transplantations in a prestigious hospital at the hands of a well-known nephrologist.
What about the paperwork? “Yo need not worry, I want you to provide all the documents about the relationship between the patient and donor. Arrangements will be made to prepare the necessary documents if you are not able to do it,’’ the doctor said.
How can such documents be obtained without verification by government departments? “I will take care of those issues. You have to arrange for the money as early as possible and find a donor who has to undergo some tests at this hospital. Your patient has to wait a few months to undergo the operation. If you agree to all these conditions, you can come with Mahadeva and pay money to me without taking too much time,’’ he said.