Corporate hospitals favoured in organ donation nod: Madras HC

The authorisation committee has to approve transplants if the donor is not a near relative of the recipient to ensure that the donor is not exploited for monetary considerations.
Image used for representational purpose for Organ donation.
Image used for representational purpose for Organ donation.

CHENNAI: The Madras High Court has observed that corporate hospitals in Tamil Nadu have been favoured by the health department’s authorisation committee for issuing approval for organ transplantation compared to non-corporate hospitals.

Justice G R Swaminathan made the remarks on Friday while passing orders on petitions filed by J Rajkumar, a railway employee, seeking a direction to give approval for organ donation from a non-relative donor to the petitioner, as forwarded by Muthu Hospital in Chennai.

“If approval is required from the department for a procedure, ‘A’ (corporate) hospital will see to it that while its applications are fast-tracked and given a green signal, the applications of ‘B’ (non-corporate) hospital are not fast-tracked and if possible rejected,” the HC said.

Ensure organ donor gets 3-year financial aid: HC to committee

“This is the way of capitalism. This is the way businessmen behave. Competition is always cut-throat,” the judge said on Friday. “Medicare is a huge business,” the judge aid.

The authorisation committee has to approve transplants if the donor is not a near relative of the recipient to ensure that the donor is not exploited for monetary considerations.

Pointing out that the applications from certain corporate hospitals have been fast-tracked for grant of approval in large numbers, Justice Swaminathan said hidden facts can be unearthed if an investigation is done. “If an enterprising investigative journalist (let me add tongue-in-cheek or a YouTuber) undertakes a thorough probe of all the approvals granted so far, I am certain that a lot of skeletons will tumble out of the cupboard of the committee,” he said.

Justice Swaminathan emphasised the need for a ‘uniform approach’ for approval of organ transplantation irrespective of the stature of the hospitals. He set aside the order of the authorisation committee to reject the application submitted by Muthu hospital and remitted the matter back to the committee for reconsideration within three weeks.

Meanwhile, in an order passed on Thursday in a similar case, the judge directed the authorisation committee to ensure that the organ donor is provided with financial aid for three years in order to ensure that his physical and medical requirements are met for a certain period. “Apart from taking medical insurance coverage in favour of the donor, a lump sum deposit shall be directed to be made to the credit of the authorisation committee. The committee shall issue directions for crediting a fixed sum every month in the bank account of the donor for a period of three years. Thus, the physical and medical needs of the donor will be met for a certain period,” Justice G R Swaminathan noted.

He directed the committee to clear the applications taking ‘at face value’ the statement of the donor that the organ donation is done out of affection and not for any pecuniary benefits. He further said the recipients and donors, if they are non-near relatives, can directly approach the committee for obtaining prior approval for the transplantation instead of moving through the hospital.

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