Private Hospitals Association rejects allegations on kidney transplantation as false

Thursday, 8 May 2014 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

The Private Hospitals Association (PHA) yesterday rejected allegations over kidney transplantation as baseless and false. In a statement PHA said the Indian media has been sensationalising an alleged kidney donor sale by agents in both India and Sri Lanka and are alleging that donors are being enticed and paid by agents who charge excessively from recipients and give a pittance to the donor. Some media have even speculated about collusion by private health institutions, transplant professionals and the Ministry of Health. “The PHA would like to place on record that this claim of collusion by our member hospitals, professionals and the Ministry is completely false and baseless,” the statement said. It said kidney transplants were introduced to this country in October 1985 by private sector hospitals. In 1987 facilities were provided by the National Hospital, Colombo. The Human Tissue Transplantation Act No. 48 became law in December 1987. "Private hospitals do not get involved in finding or soliciting donors for kidney transplant patients" All private hospitals strictly follow the detailed procedure laid down by the Ministry of Health before carrying out any operation. In fact at all these hospitals, recipients and donors are screened for medical, psychological and anaesthetic fitness for operation. Once accepted, the hospital management refers donors to their ethical committee which includes senior doctors, a senior medico-legal consultant and a lawyer or a justice of the peace. They interview the recipient and donor strictly and scrutinise the legal documents carefully before they recommend it to the Ministry for approval. Members of the kidney transplant team or professionals do not attend these donor authorisation interviews. The Ethical Committee rejects applications for transplants that do not conform to accepted ethical guidelines on renal transplantation which includes ethical emotional relationship claims. Once the ethical committee is satisfied, the documents are sent to the Director of Private Health Sector Development and he/she goes through the documents in detail and sends back or rejects it if the documents are incomplete or if further clarifications are required. The successful application is sent up to the Deputy Director General (Medical Services) and then finally to the Director General of Health Services for approval to transplant in strict adherence to the Human Tissue Transplantation Act No. 48 of 1987. Once the above mentioned approvals are completed, the Director General of Health Services writes to the Private Hospital giving his approval to carry out the operation. The surgical and medical teams arrange the operation only when they are certain of approval by DGHS. The process thus detailed by the Ministry of Health is the same for local or foreign transplants. To this day there have been no complaints about the medical, legal or ethical standards of kidney transplants done by our member hospitals from either patients or donors. It is because of these very high standards that patients are attracted to these hospitals. “We the Private Hospitals Association, whose membership includes most of the private hospitals in Sri Lanka, wish to state that in conducting kidney transplants we have encouraged our member hospitals to deal only with patients and donors brought in by the patients. The private hospitals do not get involved in finding or soliciting donors for kidney transplant patients,” the statement said. “This surgery is a lifesaving operation, whether it is done for local or foreign patients. We on our part ensure that all ethical practices are adhered to for kidney transplants, by following strict measures and dealing directly with patients at all times. We hope the Ministry of Health will complete its investigations early and take appropriate action to resume kidney transplant surgery in private hospitals as soon as possible,” the PHA added.