Expert panel rules out ‘organ trade’ allegation against TN organ donation authority

The panel was appointed after allegations that organs from a private hospital in Salem were allotted to foreigners, bypassing the Indians on the waitlist.
Expert panel rules out ‘organ trade’ allegation against TN organ donation authority
Expert panel rules out ‘organ trade’ allegation against TN organ donation authority
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A two-member committee appointed by the Tamil Nadu health department has ruled out the possibility of trading of organs during their allocation by the state’s organ donation regulation authority, Transtan.

However, according to reports, the committee, headed by Dr Edwin Joe, the Director of Medical Education, has recommended a more transparent system for allotment and use of organs in the state. During the course of its probe, the expert team allegedly discovered clerical errors and lack of adequate communication from a transplant hospital.

The committee was appointed by the TN government after allegations of donor organs being given to foreign citizens popped up. As per the allegations, the organs that became available for transplant were given to foreign citizens without offering it to the Indian citizens as per law. These allegations came out after a private hospital in Salem was accused of removing the vital organs of a brain-dead patient from Kerala without the family’s permission.

The committee has also recommended three categories of waitlisted patients – one for patients from Tamil Nadu, one for patients from other states in India and one for foreign patients. Until now, the procedure has been that if there are no recipients in Tamil Nadu, the donor organ will be put up in the National registry which will be open for anybody registered for a healthy organ in India. Only if there are no takers in India will the healthy organ be allocated to a foreigner.

After Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan wrote to Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami seeking probe into the allegations on the Salem hospital by the family, a probe was initiated into the incident. According to a news report in The Hindu, the probe confirmed protocol breach in allocation of organs retrieved from the patient by the Salem hospital. The report had found out that the Transtan staff had wilfully put the wrong identification number thereby bypassing the Indian patients who were on the waitlist.

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