Following the shocking exposure of a medical racket involving some Indians and a Sri Lankan doctor to trade live kidneys for transplantation in Sri Lanka, the Health Ministry today appointed a one woman committee to look into the highly unethical and illegal human organ deal and report back in a month.
Health Services Director General Dr. Palitha Mahipala on the instructions of Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena appointed Private Medical Institutions Development Unit Director Dr. Kanthi Ariyaratne to conduct a thorough investigation on the scam and submit a report to Minister Sirisena within a month.
“Dr. Ariyaratne has been instructed to conduct a probe on all kidney transplant operations performed from January 2013 to April 2014 at private hospitals in the country, about the donors, the surgeons and medical teams that performed the transplant operations and whether any exchange of money had taken place to obtain the kidney or whether there were any third party involvements to obtain the kidney etc,” Health Ministry spokesman Dharma Wanninayaka said.
Media reports in India also revealed that some members of poorer families had been forced to donate their organs via brokers who had made the human body parts trade a lucrative business with the assistance of certain surgeons in Sri Lanka who make millions violating all norms of Hippocratic Oath and medical ethics.
The kidney transplant racket came to light when Andhra Pradesh police sought the assistance of the Sri Lanka Police. Preliminary investigations have revealed that a Sri Lanka surgeon known as Monik had obtained the services of the Andhra Pradesh gang to get hold of kidney donors from poverty stricken families in India and pay the donor about Rs. 500,000 and send them to Sri Lanka for transplant of the kidney to a patient with a failed kidney.
Dr. Monik reportedly charges Rs. 4 million to 5 million for a kidney transplant he performs at private hospitals in Sri Lanka using the kidneys supplied by the Indian gang.
Several arrests have been made in India in this connection. The Health Ministry believes the illegal trade of human body parts is carried out by a wider network of unscrupulous individuals in India and Sri Lanka exploiting widespread poverty in certain Indian states as their modus operandi to woo the people to sell their organs for a pittance, Mr. Wanninayaka said.
Meanwhile, Police spokesman Ajith Rohana said the Sri Lankan Police was still to receive any request from the Andhra Pradesh police for an inquiry in Sri Lanka on the racket and the Sri Lanka police would fully cooperate if there was such a request. (Sandun A. Jayasekera)