Thiruvananthapuram: Pressure is mounting on the Tamil Nadu government to order a detailed inquiry into the allegations of the removal of organs of a brain- dead youth belonging to Meenakshipuram in Palakkad at a private hospital in Salem allegedly without the informed consent of his relatives. The organs harvested included kidneys (both), corneas (both), liver, intestines, pancreas, heart and lungs. While the authorities of VIMS Hospital, Salem, claimed that consent was taken before retrieving the organs, the relatives alleged that their signatures were taken on certain forms without explaining the reason.
The youth, Manikantan, 24, sustained grievous injuries in an accident and was admitted to VIMS Hospital. The accident occurred when he along with a few others was returning to Meenakshipurm from Chennai. Soon after the accident, seven injured persons were admitted to a local government hospital. Later, they were referred to VIMS which is 120 km away. In a letter to Tamil Nadu counterpart Edappadi K. Palaniswami, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan sought a detailed probe into the complaint of the relatives.
“On May 22, the doctors declared Manikandan brain-dead. Subsequently, he was put on ventilator support. The hospital authorities demanded Rs 3 lakh as treatment costs. Besides, they also demanded Rs 25,000 to take the body to Meenakshipuram. Since the relatives were not carrying enough cash, the hospital authorities allegedly made them sign on some papers. Later, the body was handed over to the relatives and no post-mortem report was provided to them. This incident has violated all ethical norms of medical profession and requires to be probed in detail,” the chief minister said.
Another tribal youth of Perumatty panchayat, who also sustained serious head injuries in the accident and was undergoing treatment at VIMS, was shifted to medical college hospital, Coimbatore, on the intervention of Chittur MLA K. Krishnankutty. He visited the patient in Coimbatore and also spoke to the doctors ."His condition is extremely critical. Doctors say he will have to be on ventilator support for at least a week. Free treatment will be given to him during this period. We will provide financial assistance as well," he said.
The MLA said he had spoken to Salem district collector on Thursday and demanded an inquiry into Manikantan’s case. "The collector called back to inform that the hospital had taken the required consent from the relatives," he said. The MLA would apprise Mr Pinarayi Vijayan about the outcome of his visit and the talks held with doctors and district administration. Meanwhile, the VIMS authorities have refuted the allegations saying that the organs were harvested after getting the consent of the relatives. They produced documents to show that the patient suffered traumatic brain injury.
The police intimation form sent by the chief operating officer of VIMS hospital to the investigation officer of the police station concerned says, “the near relatives of the patient have expressed a positive inclination to donate the organs of the patient in the event of brain death” The police officer was asked to reach the hospital at the earliest to expedite the inquest proceedings and carry out necessary procedures to enable the cadaver organ donation. The documents produced by hospital authorities had the signatures of the relatives of Manikantan on the consent form....