Even after the implementation of the Human Organ Transplant Act to prevent commercialization of human organs, instances of 'organ theft' only reflect the lacunae existing in the Indian health care system. The recent report of bilateral kidney retrieval and death of a poor rickshaw driver in Bihar has created much panic in the State.
Surenda Das, 30, the rickshaw puller, died at the Patna Medical College Hospital Friday after battling for his life when both his kidneys were removed by a doctor under the pretext of conducting an appendicitis operation. With his demise, his family of four has lost the sole breadwinner.
The state health department has ordered an inquiry. Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has also asked state police chief A R Sinha to conduct an inquiry into the case.
The police belatedly swung into action trying to arrest the doctor, R P Gupta, and his three assistants involved in removing the kidneys. The doctor along with his assistants has been absconding ever since the case came to light early this week.
A court in Hajipur town of Vaishali district has issued non-bailable arrest warrants against Gupta and his assistants.
"Surendra had undergone a painful round of dialysis for several days. There was scant hope of his survival, as both his kidneys had been removed, and he finally died," said a hospital official here on Saturday.
A police complaint was lodged against Gupta, who runs a private clinic in Mahnar in Vaishali district. Although he holds an MBBS degree, his clinic is unregistered like hundreds of such clinics across rural and urban Bihar.
Surendra's father said that the son had never suffered from any kidney ailment. On Dec 4 he complained of stomach ache. The family consulted the village quack, who suggested that they take him to a doctor in the city. With no inkling of the deadly fate that awaited them, they went ahead with the treatment suggested by the doctor.
"The quack, taking advantage of their innocence, had Suendra admitted to the private clinic run by Gupta, who removed his kidneys under the pretext of performing surgery for appendicitis," he said.
When the hapless patient recovered consciousness, Gupta told him that his appendix had been removed. When Surendra suffered from excruciating pain for several days, the family took him to the Patna Medical College Hospital (PMCH) where doctors after examination revealed that both his kidneys had been removed.
Now, Surendra's newly married wife, has become a widow, and his elderly parents and a younger brother suffering from TB are bereft of the sole support in the family.