HUMAN ORGANS TRADE
– Kidneys reportedly have a price tag of between $1.5M and $8M, depending on the circumstances
GUYANA’S developing kidney transplant programme is witnessing an increasing commercial influence.
Over the years, since its introduction, there have been strong reasons to believe that individuals were involved in the buying and selling of the organs.
However, professionals in the field contend that, today, the evidence of organs trading is clear.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Vickram Oditt, of the nephrology specialist facility, Doobay Medical Centre, told the Guyana Chronicle that kidneys have a price tag of between $1.5M and $8M, depending on the circumstances.
He emphasised that the consequences of organ trading have far-reaching implications.
According to him, patients’ lives, in addition to the integrity of Guyana’s kidney transplant programme, are at risk.
He acknowledged that patients who make the decision to purchase kidneys may be contemplating the cost of continued renal treatment, as well as the chances of finding a donor match.
But Oditt pointed out that the bigger picture is the dangerous risks that are being taken, as the evidence of highly negative outcomes are undeniable.
He informed that, in the last few months, two of the centre’s patients bought kidneys and had their transplants done at other facilities, but died in a matter of weeks, one within three weeks and the other in six.
“There is a lot of risk in buying kidneys. The actual transplant operation is only one part. There is much pre and post-operation work that has to be done,” Oditt cautioned.
He said two male patients, one in his 30s and the other in his early 40s, were robust individuals, save for complications with their kidneys, when they succumbed because the organs they purchased failed.
“These are only two cases, there are others,” Oditt revealed.
He said the worrying trend is creating waves among families and, also, the price tags being fetched by the organ trade are clouding the judgement of potential donors.
“The family members are now saying that they want money for the transplant,” Mr Oditt observed.
Guyana, currently, has no laws against organs trade, but the practice is illegal in many countries.
Still, a senior official of the Health Ministry confirmed that a piece of legislation from Canada is “sitting” in waiting to be used as the basis from which Guyana can have its own to prevent the trading.
Oditt disclosed that a “prominent attorney” in Guyana was involved in drafting an agreement of sale for the patient who purchased a kidney for $8M.
“The will has to be there from all ends to stop this,” he observed, though maintaining the fact that the growing trend is undeniable, making the call for action more urgent.
Guyana’s kidney programme was first announced in May 2008 by former Health Minister, Dr. Leslie Ramsammy. Since then, several transplants have been performed, in addition to hundreds of dialysis operations that have been done at the Doobay Medical Centre, the 5-G Dialysis Service, the Balwant Singh Hospital and the Georgetown Public Hospital, all in the city; and the Anamayah Memorial Hospital at Albion in Berbice.
This newspaper will continue to follow developments in this field.
(By Vanessa Narine)