Questions arise over Sasikala's husband Natarajan's liver-kidney transplant from poor donor

Sasikala’s husband M Natarajan got a liver and kidney transplanted today from a poor 19-year-old boy, who met with an accident and was brought by air ambulance from Thanjavur Govt Hospital to Chennai

Published: 04th October 2017 03:11 PM  |   Last Updated: 05th October 2017 03:57 PM   |  A+A-

Natarajan. (File Photo)

By Express News Service

CHENNAI: Ousted AIADMK general secretary VK Sasikala’s husband M Natarajan underwent a successful liver and kidney transplant surgery today after a poor 19-year-old boy, who met with an accident and was being treated at Thanjavur government hospital, was airlifted to Gleneagles Global Health City in Chennai on Tuesday, where the Mannargudi man was awaiting a donor. 

The boy, N Karthik, a lowly employee at a flex board printer in Pudukkottai, was declared dead soon after being brought to Gleneagles Global Health City in Chennai, in an air ambulance.

The youth's organs, a liver and a kidney, which matched Natarajan who was awaiting transplant at the same hospital, were harvested and donated to Sasikala's 74-year-old husband in a surgery performed early on Wednesday.

Karthik had met with an accident on Aranthangi-Pattukkottai road near Keeramangalam on Saturday evening when a car collided with his bike. He was first rushed to the government hospital in Aranthangi, before being referred to Government Thanjavur Medical College Hospital. 

On Tuesday, he was brought to Gleneagles Global Health City, the private hospital in Chennai which conducted the transplant on Natarajan. Karthik was declared dead the same day he was brought to the private hospital in Chennai from Government Thanjavur hospital by air ambulance.

A statement released by Gleneagles Global Health City said, “The doctors at the [Thanjavur] hospital apprised the family of his poor outcome. Against the medical advice, the family decided to move him to a private hospital for second opinion. The family chose to transfer him to Gleneagles Global Health City."

“The patient was provided further treatment at the centre. Despite treatment, Karthik succumbed to his injuries and was pronounced brain dead [the same day],” the private hospital added.

“Karthik’s family was counselled regarding organ donation and they provided their consent to donate his organs,” the statement from Gleneagles Global Health City said. 

According to the organ-sharing network model adopted by Tamil Nadu, a private hospital where the deceased is located gets priority for the liver, heart and one kidney. One other kidney is allocated to the common pool.

Since Karthik died in Gleneagles Global Health City, his organs were used for a patient on the waiting list in the Tamil Nadu Organ Sharing Registry who was being treated at the same hospital -- Natarajan. 

The hospital's statement, which did not name Natarajan, said the surgery was successful and he is recovering well at the intensive care.

Karthik's heart was allocated to a 43-year-old man from Tamil Nadu, and lung was given to a 62-year-old man from Uttar Pradesh. “The liver and kidney were allocated to a 74-year-old man who was on top of the combined liver-kidney transplant waiting list,” the statement from Gleneagles Global Health City said, without identifying Natarajan as the 74-year-old. All surgeries went on well, and the patients are recovering well in intensive care, it added.

The boy's other kidney was allocated to the common pool as per government regulations, the release added.

As the move to shift the donor to Gleneagles Global Health City hospital raised questions about the propriety in the manner in which it was done, the private hospital stressed that it hoped the statement was “received in its entirety and not taken out of context”.

Yet questions remain: What compelled a poor Pudukottai youth's family choose to hire an air ambulance to fly his body to Gleneagles Global Health City, "against the medical advise, for a second opinion"? Who paid for the air ambulance? Which hospital's medical staff accompanied the grievously injured boy in the air ambulance?

Meanwhile at Kooththadi Vayal in the outskirts of Aranthangi town in Pudukkottai, Karthik’s native, his relatives have gathered at his home waiting for the body. 


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