Days after Gwalior-resident Kishan Gambhir accused doctors of Gajra Raja Medical College for allegedly throwing away the cornea donated by his mother into garbage, three more families now have come forward to question the fate of the cornea donated by their family members.
The families have argued that while in some cases the donated cornea have not even been put on the hospital’s record book, in others they were used for research.
Rahul Gupta, who runs a shop in Gwalior’s Madhavganj area, said on January 1, 2014, he had donated eyes of his 52-year-old mother Radha Gupta.
“But when I went to the hospital to know what had happened to the donated eyes, I was shocked to know that there was no record of our eye donation in the registry book. When I questioned the hospital authorities about it, they just said an investigation was going on the issue. But didn’t answer why the donation was not recorded in the registry,” said Gupta, who even met senior officials of the medical education department in this regard.
Another Vinita Jain, 31, who had donated the eyes of her 35-year-old husband Kapil Jain, who was killed in a road accident on October 3 last year, told HT that she had gone to the hospital four times to know what happened to the donated eyes of her husband.
“Every time I go to the hospital, either the concerned doctors are not there or I am told to come later. Have we committed any crime by donating eyes of our loved one? Why is such a treatment being meted out to us?” she asked.
Jain said if the doctors had used the donated eyes in research, they should have first sought permission from the family. “We didn’t donate eyes for research in the first place. Anyway if they have used them in research, they should give us the details of the research--who conducted the research, what was the study about and so on. We suspect they have thrown away many donated eyes and now they are trying to hush up the matter,” she told HT.
Another Gwalior resident, Neeraj Agrwal, who runs a medical store in the city, had donated eyes of his grandmother Inder Devi in 2009.
“When I went to the hospital to know what they had done with my grandmother’s eyes, I found ‘used in research’ written on the registry book against the name of my grandmother. How can they use eyes for research without our consent? Our intention was that somebody should get eye sight. This is so unfair,” he said.
Meanwhile Kishan Gambhir, whose mother’s donated eyes were allegedly thrown away by the doctors, believes it was a big issue.
“I have filed an FIR in the case against the doctors, but now I think the government should look into all the cases where families are coming forward to know what happened to the eyes donated by their kin,” said Gambhir.
When questioned, dean of Gajra Raja Medical College, Gwalior, Dr GS Patel told HT over the phone that a five-member probe committee, headed by medical superintendent Jaya Arogya hospital, Dr JS Sikarwar, was investigating the matter.
“Just give us a few days. After we complete the report, we will be in a position to say clearly what went wrong and who exactly is responsible for all this,” he said.
Asked about the charges leveled by the donors’ families that no permission was sought from them for using donated eyes in research, Dr Patel reiterated that donated organs cannot be used in experiments without permission of the donor or the donor’s family and that of the college’s ethical committee.
Jaya Arogya Group of Hospitals (JAH) is the affiliated teaching hospital of the Gajra Raja Medical College, Gwalior.
On June 11, eyes donated for transplant were found outside one of the buildings of Gajra Raja Medical College. Following an uproar over the issue, KK Khare, commissioner, Gwalior division and chairperson, executive committee of the medical college ordered suspension of ophthalmology department’s head Dr US Tiwari, its cornea unit in-charge Dr SK Shakya and nurse Masi, who is also the operation theatre in-charge. Khare also ordered a magisterial probe into the incident.
Main complainant in the case, Kishan Gambhir, had stated that three eyes, including two of his mother were found on the cemented windowsill of the medical college’s first floor. He alleged that doctors had thrown them from the window with the intention that they would fall in the dense vegetation below. He said that when he questioned the staff of the college about it, they told him the eyes were not fit for transplant.