‘Inter-state transplant ops hindered by paperwork’

People coming to city from other states for transplants sometimes have to wait for months for their operations

Even as Mumbai emerges as a preferred city for organ transplantation procedures, people coming to the city from other states have complained of long delays in their operations owing to the enormous amount of paperwork involved.

Anand Nawale (41), a patient of nephritic syndrome since the age of four, was looking for a suitable donor for a kidney transplant for the past three years. After cross matching of blood with around ten potential donors, Nawale finally found a match in a 44-year-old woman from Mathura, Uttar Pradesh. However, the actual transplantation procedure took four months to take place owing to delayed documentation process from the donor's end which was not being issued by their state authorisation committee.

"We were prepared and waiting for the transplantation to take place since September last year. The doctors had said I needed a transplant at the earliest. However, we ended up waiting for four months for the operation because of paperwork that needed to be done by the donor," Nawale said, whose transplantation finally took place last month.

Dr Alan Almeida, head of the nephrology department at Hinduja Hospital, who supervised Nawale's operation, has attributed the delay in such inter-state procedures to the difference in interpretation of the rules of the Human Organ Transplantation Act of 1994 (HOTA) by individual state authorisation committees.

"Even if the transplant operation has to take place in Mumbai, the donors or recipients have to get an NOC from their respective states. This leads to a procedural delay as obtaining these documents take time. Authorisation committees in each state interpret the HOTA Act differently, which becomes a hindrance. Eventually, committees from the two states involved end up communicating with each other which further adds to the delay," Almeida said.

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