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Bihar: Victim of Illegal Kidney Removal Demands Justice, Strict Punishment for Accused

Meanwhile, another accused in the case, Dr R K Singh, is still absconding and the police have failed to arrest him.
Bihar Dalit Woman Critical After Removal of Kidneys at Private Clinic

Representational Image. Image Courtesy: NDTV

Patna: Two days after the police arrested Pawan Kumar – a self-proclaimed doctor and owner of a private nursing home clinic, Sunita Devi, who has been battling for life since early September, demanded stern punishment for him and justice for herself.

Kumar has been accused of removing both kidneys of Sunita Devi at his clinic.

Pawan was absconding for nearly two and a half months after Sunita’s kidney removal at his Subhakant Clinic in the Muzaffarpur District of Bihar came to light. The police have arrested him from Bariyarpur in Muzaffarpur.

According to the police officials, Pawan fled soon after the illegal kidney removal of Sunita hit headlines locally and was hiding at a friend’s house in Delhi. He reportedly came back early this week to his native village. Pawan was planning to go to Bhutan after meeting his family to escape the police.

Meanwhile, another accused in the case, Dr R K Singh, is still absconding and the police have failed to arrest him. The police are also considering the possibility that Singh might have forged his MBBS degree.

Police had lodged a case against Kumar and Singh at Bariyarpur Police Station, based on the statement of Devi's mother, Tetri Devi. 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.

“The court and the government should ensure that Pawan Kumar receives a strict punishment. He has ruined my life in his lust for money. I am fighting for my life. He should be punished so that no one else ever dares to take such a step,” said Sunita, while speaking to NewsClick from her hospital bed.

She has been undergoing regular dialysis at the government-run Sri Krishna Medical College and Hospital (SKMCH) in Muzaffarpur since September. She is restlessly awaiting the much-needed kidney transplant.

Sunita had earlier demanded that Pawan Kumar’s or his wife’s kidney be used for a transplant so that her life can be saved. “I could have died after my kidneys were removed. Who would have been responsible for it? I want justice and wanted Pawan’s kidney. But it is not in my hands. Perhaps the court could order him to replace my kidney,” she said.

“I have three children. I want to go back and live a normal life with them,” added Sunita.

Following the incident, Pawan’s family, including his wife, has reportedly fled the village in fear of a forcible transplant as per Sunita’s demand.

Sunita Devi's husband, Aklu Ram, a landless farm labourer, reiterated his wife’s wish and hoped that the government arranges a kidney transplant. “I am no longer earning anything due to her critical health condition as we have been in the hospital for over two months for her treatment and dialysis. We have no money to buy biscuits and milk for the children. The sooner a transplant takes place, the better it is for us as we want to go back to the village,” he said.

Also read: Bihar: After Kidney, Now Uteruses of Poor Women Removed at Private Clinic

In a shocking incident, Sunita Devi's kidneys were removed and stolen at a private nursing home under the guise of a hysterectomy in early September. An initial probe had revealed that there was no operation theatre in the private clinic and it lacked all basic facilities.

Ram recalled that Sunita Devi was rushed to Subhakant Clinic in early September following stomach pain. After examining her and conducting an ultrasound, doctors asked the family to deposit money immediately and admit her for a hysterectomy. But hours after the “surgery”, Sunita’s health deteriorated, her body swelled, and she complained of uneasiness and extreme weakness. Sensing trouble, a doctor at the clinic advised Ram to take her to Patna for better treatment. The couple found out that both kidneys had been removed at the Patna Medical College and Hospital.

Pawan has reportedly revealed that he was merely Class X educated and worked as a fruit seller in Bhutan before returning to Beriyarpur during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Bariyarpur outpost police station officer in-charge Rajesh Kumar and Sakra police station officer in-charge along with DSP Manoj Pandey interrogated Pawan after his arrest. Pawan has purportedly admitted that during the operation, both the kidneys were removed because Dr Singh suspected them to be a big tumour. Later, both kidneys wrapped in cloth were allegedly thrown into a nearby field. There have reportedly been more than two dozen “surgeries” at the clinic, one of which had resulted in the patient’s death.

In the first week of November 2022, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) issued a notice to the principal secretary of the state health department in connection with the illegal removal of Devi's kidneys and sought a reply within four weeks about the action taken in this regard.

The kidney removal incident has exposed the pathetic healthcare situation in rural Bihar. It seems nothing has changed in Muzaffarpur regarding health facilities for the poor and marginalised. Last year, sixteen women and men – most of them elderly – had their eyes removed following alleged negligence during cataract surgeries by a private hospital in the district. Most of the victims were poverty-stricken landless people from different villages of Muzaffarpur and neighbouring districts of Vaishali, Samastipur, Champaran, and Sitamarhi.

A few days ago, it was reported that 23 poor women allegedly underwent tubectomy, a permanent method of contraception, at primary health centres (PHCs) without anaesthesia in the Khagaria district. A probe was ordered into the incident.

In the latest of the health scandals in Bihar early this month, the uteruses of seven poor women were allegedly removed at a private nursing home. All of them are from the age group of 22 to 35 years. The women were admitted for a minor operation or baby delivery at Om Sai Nursing Home in Ramnagar in the West Champaran district.

Also read: Bihar: Dengue Menace Back to Haunt Ahead of Festivities

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