Monday, February 3, 2003, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi



Of health and corruption

Although an independent survey in the recent past had shown healthcare to be the most corrupt in our country, one thought that they must be kidding till the present kidney racket came to light. This must be just one odd tip of the iceberg which got exposed accidentally. If the organ transplant racket is any yardstick of the ethics of the noblest profession, then one must shudder to think about the shoddiness of the entire system.

Seemingly there are unnecessary lab, cat-scan and other tests just for earning symbiotic cuts. Maybe the caesarians and ripping opens could be in some cases just to earn huge fees for the surgery? Of course there are black sheep in every group but when their misdeeds overshadow the good work of the majority, it is for the community to lay down own a code of conduct. They should have a self-regulation mechanism in place without MCI or government inspections which will only lead to further corruption.

To put the healthcare sector in a healthier frame, possibly a non-government advisory committee of representatives of local practising doctors, hospitals, retired military medicos and eminent citizens can resolve to oversee:

(a) regulating the working of nursing homes, polyclinics, labs etc.

(b) fixing fees for consultation, surgery, room rent, lab and other tests.

(c) ensuring that unnecessary surgery and tests are not carried out.


(d) The nursing homes, hospitals and consulting physicians should voluntarily accommodate poor patients, say up to 25 per cent, for free treatment.

The government must ban quackery while encouraging alternative systems like homoeopathy, ayurvedic and Unani treatment. Last but not the least, a two-year service in the armed forces should be mandatory for the doctors to be eligible for registration. This would not only provide an opportunity to serve their country but also enable them to learn how to bring about quick and lasting cure by using ordinary medicines.

Air Cmde RAGHUBIR SINGH (retd), Pune

Punish them

If doctors are really serving society, they themselves should donate their kidneys to needy poor patients free of cost. The latter cannot spend lakhs of rupees like their NRI patients who fly from other countries to India, buy kidneys through doctors and go back to their homes.

It is said that God cannot be present everywhere. So He made doctors so that they can serve the needy people. I think God must be feeling ashamed to see such doctors who deal in kidneys. All the doctors whose names come in this scam must be punished for their evil deeds.


Nangal township mishandled

The medical fraternity of Punjab is shocked and dismayed at the manner the Punjab Government has handled the kidney controversy. In its enthusiasm to fight corruption it has gone over board. The right course for the government was to order a probe by a panel of eminent doctors drawn from the PGI, Chandigarh, AIIMS, Delhi, and the IMA.

Dr P.K. Sareen should have been honoured by the Punjab Government for performing 2,000 kidney transplants, a gigantic feat by international standards. Kidney transplant is one of the most sophisticated surgeries requiring the highest degree of skill and high-tech equipment. None of the 2,000 or so recipients has complained against him.

There are many flaws in the law. Either non-relatives should be debarred from donating kidneys or they should be compensated monetarily on grounds of love and affection. Let every recipient give at least Rs 2 lakh to the donor for the voluntary donation of his kidney.

There are thousands of patients in need of kidney transplant. They must not be condemned to live on the dialysis.

Dr ARUN PURI, Faridkot

NRI fears over kidney scam

The manner in which two doctors of Amritsar have been treated by the Punjab Police has come as a shock to the NRI community in general and doctors in particular. As per press reports, the medical community had been of late supporting any kind of probe into any irregularity in the process of transplantation provided the probe was conducted as per the provisions of the law. The doctors and their medical associations had offered to cooperate with and make themselves available to any such investigating agency.

It is also reported that the Transplant of Human Organs Act 1994 has a tight framework to regulate the donation of organs from unrelated donors.

Clause 22 of the Act states:

Cognizance of offences

(1) No court shall take cognizance of an offence under this Act except on a complaint made by

(a) The appropriate authority concerned or any officer authorised in this behalf by the Central Government or the state government or as the case may be the appropriate authority or

(b) A person who has given notice of not less than sixty days in such manner as may be prescribed to the appropriate authority concerned of the alleged offence and of his intention to make a complaint to the court.

(2) No court other than that of a metropolitan magistrate or a judicial magistrate of the first class shall try any offence punishable under this Act.

(3) Where a complaint has been made under Clause (b) of sub-section (1) the court may, on demand by such person, direct the appropriate authority to make available copies of the relevant records in its possession to such person.

The police has clearly tried to circumvent the law and thus violated the will of Parliament.

That any civilised and democratic society can allow the law of the land to be flouted by their own law-enforcing agencies is beyond the imagination of the NRI community. We are not trying to protect the guilty but trying to uphold the basic principles of justice, decency and dignity. A country where doctors can be bundled up like common criminals and remanded in police custody for days cannot claim to be moving towards globalisation.


Why not CBI probe?

With regard to the ongoing kidney scandal it would seem reasonable to demand that this serious case be properly investigated either by the CBI or a sitting high court judge. It is intriguing to note that people like communist leader Satya Pal Dang have no faith in the CBI because “it is not immune to political interference”, but at the same time have full faith in a Congress politician (Amarinder Singh).

Jagdeep Khahra, Leicester, UK

It’s revolting

Kidneys, when fail, cannot purify the blood which pollutes the entire body and makes it dysfunctional. The kidneys of this society have failed. That is why there is so much dirt in the blood of people practising a noble profession like a doctor’s. And senses revolt at the thought of the widespread reach of the scam.

J.S. Anand, Bathinda


Old habits die hard

While jogging in the early hours in Chandigarh’s Fragrance Garden, I passed by an old man briskly walking and lustily singing “Baharo phul barsao, mera mehboob aiya hai” behind a voluptuous woman walker. I could not decide whether to frown in disgust at the indiscretion or appreciate the undying embers of youthful yearnings in the older man.

The recent police record of Delhi shows an increase in cases of eve-teasing by older men. Fiftyfive old but young at heart- Romeos were arrested in the first ten days of January, 2003, with the average age of more than 30 years and six were in their late fifties. A 63-year-old retired IPS officer, whose wife is a Principal of a college in Delhi, has been arrested for teasing a lady constable in front of Sri Ram College of Commerce.

Should we be proud of the vitality in our older men or bow our head in shame due to lack of healthy attitude towards sex?



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