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Bihar: No Donor After 1.5 Years, Health of Dalit Woman Whose Kidneys Were Removed Worsens

Mohd. Imran Khan |
Family blames health authorities’ failure to arrange for a donor for the poor Dalit woman, who is battling for life in SKMCH Muzaffarpur.
kidney transprance

Representational use only.Image Courtesy:Wikimedia Commons

Patna: Health authorities in Bihar failed to arrange a donor for poor Sunita Devi, a dalit woman, who has been battling for life after both her kidneys were allegedly removed at a private nursing home in Muzaffarpur District about 17 months ago. Her health has worsened, according to her family.

There is no hope of a much-needed kidney transplant to the poor woman as she has become a victim of alleged negligence of health officials, who have been reiterating their old reply of trying to arrange a donor since September 2022.

The health condition of Sunita, in her mid-30s, has deteriorated since last week and she urgently requires kidney transplant for survival, but the health authorities have nothing to offer. She is currently undergoing treatment in the ICU ward in government-run Sri Krishna Medical College and Hospital (SKMCH) in Muzaffarpur.

"We are poor, I have no money to arrange a donor but I want to save my daughter's life, If the government (health department) was serious, it could had arranged a donor long ago. It appears the government has no concern for the life of poor people like Sunita,” her mother, Tetri Devi, told NewsClick.

Last year, Sunita's family members blamed the “non-seriousness” of officials of the health department for the delay in kidney transplant. They said no serious effort was made by the health authorities for kidney transplant to save her life. If the department was serious, one year is a long duration to arrange a donor.

Tetri Devi said her daughter’s life matters for her three minor children, who are losing hope every passing day.

After Sunita’s kidneys were allegedly removed and stolen at a private nursing home in the name of a uterus removal operation in early September 2022, the top brass of the health department had assured to provide her proper treatment, including kidney transplant. But she has been restlessly awaiting it for nearly one and half years either on a bed at her house or in SKMCH in Muzaffarpur.

Dr Abha Rani Sinha, SKMCH superintendent (Additional In-charge) said Sunita's condition was not good. Her dialysis was done, and doctors treating her had said she needed blood transfusion due to low haemoglobin level.

"No donor has come forward till date. Sunita needs a kidney transplant immediately. What can we do, we tried but failed to arrange a donor," Sinha told NewsClick.

The Deputy Superintendent of SKMCH, Dr Satish Kumar, said a team of doctors was monitoring Sunita following breathlessness and likely chest infection. "SKMCH has written to the higher health authorities several times to arrange a donor", he said.

Another senior official of SKMCH, on condition of anonymity, told NewsClick that it was “not their job” to arrange for a donor, it is for the government health authorities to ensure her kidney transplant. "Our main concern is proper treatment, including regular dialysis. We have been taking special care of her and monitoring her condition and have requested the health department to arrange a kidney for her transplant,” he added.

Repeated attempts by NewsClick to contact the Bihar health secretary failed, as he remained ‘out of reach’.

According to Sunita’s family, time and again she was admitted to SKMCH after her condition deteriorated. She was taken back home because there was no chance of a likely donor.

An initial probe by the police in Muzaffarpur had revealed that there was no operation theatre in the said private clinic, which also lacked basic facilities. In violation of fundamental medical ethics, Subhakant Clinic in rural Muzaffarpur had been conducting surgeries without official approval from the government agency, it was alleged.

According to the police, the clinic neither had a registration number nor were the degrees of its doctors displayed on a board. Locals alleged that the clinic was run by self-proclaimed doctors.

Sunita’s family recalled that she was rushed to Subhakant Clinic in early September following stomach pain. After examining her and conducting an ultrasound, the doctors asked the family to deposit money immediately and admit her for a uterus removal operation. But hours after the operation, her health deteriorated, her body swelled, and she complained of uneasiness and extreme weakness. Sensing trouble, a doctor at the clinic advised her family to take her to Patna for better treatment.

However, the family was shocked when doctors of the government-run Patna Medical College and Hospital (PMCH) informed them that both her kidneys had been removed.

Later, Sunita was admitted to SKMCH in Muzaffarpur, where doctors again conducted tests and confirmed that both her kidneys were removed, after that she was shifted to Patna-based Indira Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences and soon sent back to SKMCH, where her regular dialysis is going on.

Police had lodged a case against the clinic's doctors, including the owner Pawan Kumar, at Bariyarpur Police Station, based on the statement of Sunita's mother. The FIR was lodged under the Transplantation of Human Organs and Tissues Act, 1994, and the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989.

A Special Investigative Team was constituted to arrest the absconding owners-cum-self-claimed doctors of the clinic.

In November 2022, police arrested the ‘absconding’ Pawan Kumar, the main accused for removing Sunita’s kidneys.

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