Of Journalism

The doctor who robbed me is still in business, victim bemoans

By Fawad Ali Shah

Standing in the court of Judicial Magistrate V at city courts, Kashif, a resident of Gulshan-e-Maymar, is appealing for justice. “The doctor who robbed my kidney instead of treating my gall bladder is still running a private clinic,” he cries out, as the audience carefully listens.

Kashif is one of hundreds of Pakistani citizens who have lost their kidney to the greed of corrupt medical practitioners, who later on sell them to local and foreign buyers. Doctors say that a kidney can fetch a hefty amount of $1,000 in the international market. The private clinics then charge the patient transplanting kidney illegally around $17,000, out of which $1,000 are paid to the agents who communicate between the donor and the hospital administration, the doctors say. Up until 2006, Pakistan had earned the reputation of being one of the largest kidney markets in the world, as citizens of Europe and Middle East countries flocked here for a kidney transplant. Kashif lost his kidney when the market was thriving. As kidney transplantations to foreigners were banned in 2007, that is why the exact number of transplantations carried out on foreigners after that is not known. “On May 2006, I felt pain in my abdomen, so, on the advice of a friend, I went to the Medi Complex Hospital,” a pale-coloured Kashif narrated his ordeal.
After going through tests, Kashif was diagnosed as suffering from gall bladder stones. “The head of the hospital informed me that the only solution to the problem was an operation,” he said. “The operation which normally completes in an hour took 6 hours,” the father-of-three added. After the operation, Kashif again felt pain in his abdomen and went to another hospital, where after going through some medical tests, he was told that his right kidney was missing. Later, during a police inquiry, his kidney was found at a nearby medical laboratory. After the implementation of the Transplantation of Human Organs and Tissues Ordinance in 2007, which prohibits Pakistani citizens from donating kidneys to foreigners, the price of kidneys has increased and the black market kidney trade is thriving.
Dr Bakhsh Ali, a staff member of SIUT said the business is still in boom. His colleague Dr Anwar Naqvi opined that laws could not curb this business unless the society was not educated on the issue. “We have received information from doctors from Middle East countries that Pakistan is still a hub of kidney trade,” revealed Dr Bakhsh Ali, adding that foreigners, after the transplantation in Pakistan, undergo the rest of the treatment in their respective countries. According to doctors, private clinics across the country are involved in the business. The law formulated in this regard has failed to put an end to this gruesome business, as the legal proceedings in the courts are said to be too slow. “I am sad that despite confessing that he [the doctor who allegedly removed Kashif’s kidney] carried out the crime, he is still heading the same hospital and operating on people,” said Kashif, who not only lost his kidney, but also his business, as he spent a hefty amount of money to treat the infection, which he caught due to the operation.

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