Organ transplant : How struggle for a second life is luxury in State

Published: 13th August 2016 06:04 AM  |   Last Updated: 13th August 2016 06:04 AM   |  A+A-

BENGALURU: ON World Organ Donation Day (Aug 12), simulating the national scenario, Karnataka has a bulk of its organ transplants done by private hospitals with only two government hospitals in Bengaluru doing kidney and liver transplants for the entire state.

However, health department officials argue that the blame cannot be squarely put on the government, as transplants require super specialty facilities and the government does not provide tertiary care to a large extent.

This makes organ transplantation a luxury. The state health department does not collate figures for hospitals that perform more than 25 transplants, where majority go. Private hospitals are inaccessible and unaffordable.

Institute of Nephro-Urology (INU), an autonomous body of the Karnataka government in the Victoria Hospital campus has been performing 24-26 kidney transplants on an average every year since 2010, though their waiting list is much longer. The private sector charges Rs 5 to 6 lakh for the same, INU provides it at Rs 1.25 lakh package, which takes care of the pre-operative screening and post-operative costs too.

Dr Keshavamurthy R, Director, INU, said, “For BPL patients it’s free. They are covered under Chief Minister’s Kidney Suraksha Yojana. They also get medicines for free throughout their lives. Immunosuppressants (drugs or medicines that lower the body’s ability to reject a transplanted organ) cost Rs 8,000 to Rs 10,000 per month otherwise.”

However they have done only 17 cadaveric kidney transplants so far. “Cadaveric kidney takes one to two weeks to function. But in live kidney, there is immediate urine output. This is due to ischaemia (lack of blood supply),” he added.

“There are established government medical colleges that should start doing transplants in the state,” he said.

The surgical gastroenterology department of Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana (PMSSY) hospital has done four liver transplants.

“Private hospitals charge Rs 40 lakh for a liver transplant. We charge Rs 2.5 lakh to Rs 4 lakh so far. For BPL patients it is Rs 2 lakh, for SC/ST it is free and for CGHS patients it is Rs 14 lakh. The governing council has decided to make the first ten cases free/affordable. In case of drugs, we call for tender, and 40 to 60 per cent of charges are covered,” said Dr P G Girish, Special Officer, PMSSY.

Raghunandan, Joint Director, Medical, Department of Health and Family Welfare, who is the appropriate authority for organ transplantation in the state said, the bulk of the transplants in the state are done by Manipal, BGS Global, Narayana Health city, Columbia Asia and Apollo. “Hospitals which perform less than 25 transplants approach the state authorisation committee of organ transplantation for approval. High capacity hospitals have hospital-based authorisation committees which will still need my approval to do a transplant. For the lack of human resources we do not have data on how many transplants have been done in total in the state,” he said.

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