Video footage of an interview conducted before an illegal kidney transplant – that was later halted – at L H Hiranandani Hospital, Powai, in July has revealed that Dr BK Kadam, a government representative and head of the Hospital Authorisation Committee (HAC), had asked no questions to the donor or recipient.
The donor, Shobha Thakur, had posed as the wife of Surat businessman Brijkishor Jaiswal, the recipient, using forged documents. The kidney transplant was halted after a whistleblower informed the police, and the case led to the unearthing of a wider racket.
Under the rules, an interview involving the donor, recipient and a HAC representative is mandatory before an organ transplant. The government representative must ask questions about the case, verify the bona fides of the donor and recipient, and inform them about the possible risks. As head of HAC, Dr Kadam was the main signatory – four other members are co-signees – to the kidney transplant involving Thakur and Jaiswal.
Officials of the Directorate of Health Services (DHS), which also investigated the kidney racket, said that Dr Kadam had confirmed in a written statement that the video was shot using his colleague’s mobile phone as no video camera was available at the hospital.
The DHS report, which includes Dr Kadam’s written statement, was submitted to the police. But officials from state health department said he is unlikely to face action anytime soon. “Despite a number of shortcomings emerging from Kadam’s statement and the video footage, action can be taken only after he undergoes multiple inquiries. He is a government official and it is difficult to take immediate action against him,” said a senior health official, who did not wish to be named.
However, sources in DHS confirmed that Dr Kadam has received transfer orders for Nanded Rural Hospital. But the final decision on the transfer will be made once the state government reviews the DHS report and considers its recommendations.
State health minister Dr Deepak Sawant said action will be taken if anyone is proved guilty. “The matter is sub judice, so I can’t comment on it. But inquiries are underway. After reviewing all the available evidence, appropriate action will be taken against those found to be involved,” he said.
After DHS submitted its report to the Powai police, five doctors from Hirnandani hospital, including its CEO and medical director, were arrested along with nine other people. Following the arrests of the five, many of their fellow doctors and representatives of Hiranandani hospital had spoken out about the government’s lack of will to take action against its own representative.
To ensure the strict implementation of guidelines for organ transplants, the state health department will create a centralised database of all recorded interviews for future reference. “We will also ensure that every hospital that has an organ transplant licence is equipped with video cameras to record the interviews,” said a health official.