Dahisar resident Bharti Thakkar, 50, passed away on July 18. Endless paperwork had delayed permission for the kidney transplant she desperately needed.
For six months, her husband, Prakash, had been running around trying to get all the documents and clearances needed for a swap transplant with a couple in Gujarat. By the time she was admitted to hospital for the transplant, her condition had deteriorated beyond rescue.
The Thakkars’ nightmare started last September after a swap transplant with a Chattisgarh family could not take place as the latter backed out because they could not get the documents needed.
HT had on September 13, 2012, reported that red tape was delaying this swap. Under the Human Organ Transplant Act (HOTA) 1994, a blood group incompatible donor and recipient can swap kidneys with another couple with permission from the state governments concerned.
The Thakkars then started looking for another match and registered at the Ahmedabad Civil Hospital, which has a huge database of swap transplant couples.
By January-end, the family found a Gujarat-based husband-and wife whose blood group matched theirs.
Soon after the Thakkars started gathering the documents needed including affidavits and got a no-objection certificate (NOC) from the Maharashtra government in May after an exhaustive interview.
“During this period my wife’s condition started deteriorating. I travelled to Gujarat at least 10 times to get documents of the other couple in place,” said Prakash Thakkar.
In June, the Thakkars finally went to Gujarat for the swap transplant. “Her kidneys had failed and maintaining her on dialysis was difficult. When she got admitted for a transplant, her condition started deteriorating and the procedure could not take place,” said Dr Vivek Kute, IKDRC Institute of Transplantation Science, Ahmedabad civil hospital. “Such permissions should be given within a day.”
Thakkar’s death has left the Ahmedabad couple, Prabhat and Kuwan Solanki, shattered. “I waited nine months for a match. When we learnt of Prakash and Bharti we thought our suffering would end,” said Prabhat, whose wife was to donate a kidney to Bharti while he got a kidney from Prakash.
The Gujarat government, however, asks for only three to four documents and the process is faster, said Prakash who now plans to help other patients arrange documents.
Dr Pravin Shingare, director, Maharashtra Directorate of Medical Education and Research, said permission for a swap is given in special cases even if all documents are not there. “States especially Gujarat and Rajasthan need sensitisation and hence there must have been a delay. Otherwise, these documents can be collected within a week,” he claimed.