It's been five years since Shanthi’s ordeal started and even now it is far from over. Her son Manishankar (20) was one of the 18 patients who contracted Hepatitis-C Virus infection during dialysis in Stanley Medical College and Hospital, Chennai in 2014. Despite a case pending against the hospital, it is not clear as to when the trial will come to a close.
After years of waiting, it was finally on January 30 this year that Manishankar could finally get a kidney transplant. "My mom donated a kidney to Mani. We did the transplant in a private hospital in Kulasekaram, a small town in Kanyakumari district, Tamil Nadu,” Shanthi says.
Five days into post-operative care, Manishankar developed high fever. “The doctors in the Kulasekaram hospital ran some tests and concluded that he had infection in his lungs. They told me to get him discharged and take him home since they cannot do anything,” says Shanthi. But she was not the one to lose hope. She brought her son to her home in Padappai and then on a relative’s suggestion, took him to Apollo Hospital in Chennai on February 7.
“Here also the doctors ran some tests and ruled out lung infection. They said that the body was showing mild signs of rejection of the new kidney and hence put him on medication,” she explains. After treating Manishankar as in-patient for ten days, the doctors consented to send him home with advice to get treated as out-patient for another ten days. “We go there every alternate day, get him his medicine and come back home. His next set of tests is due in another week’s time, after which the future plan for treatment will be decided,” she says.
However, her major concern is money. She had resigned her job and has no one else to help her foot a bill of at least Rs 5 lakh. “If the case is closed soon, at least we can hope for the remaining compensation amount,” she adds.
The Madras High Court had awarded an interim compensation of Rs 5 lakh to all the victims of the HCV infection. The victims, with the help of Arappor Iyakkam, a citizen advocacy group, appealed for enhanced compensation after which the court referred the matter to a one-man committee headed by former Madras High Court Justice RS Ramanathan.
The case is pending even though all the victims have filed their affidavits. Justice Ramanathan had earlier told TNM that the case is pending to be closed since the state government has not appointed a pleader to argue the case on behalf of the hospital. “I have heard the arguments from the petitioner’s side and have got the statements from victims. If the arguments of the government are also heard, I will submit my final report to the HC,” he had said.
To donate and help Shanthi in this trying situation, please click here.