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Malpractice in certification of brain dead in Kerala: plea

The government on Friday gave an oral undertaking in the Supreme Court to examine the plea of a medical doctor, that hospitals in Kerala certify patients as brain dead in order to harvest their organs for transplant.

A Bench led by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra heard Kollam resident Dr. S. Ganapathy, who appeared in person, to highlight the gross malpractice in the certification of brain dead in Kerala.

Three-week time

Additional Solicitor General P.S. Narasimha, for the Centre, undertook to discuss the issue with the Union Health Ministry and report back to the apex court in three weeks.

The doctor has filed his special leave petition against a Kerala High Court order which “meekly” stated that it was satisfied with the steps taken to prevent such malpractices. He stated that the trouble began on February 4, 2012, when the State government issued an order giving a hospital which certifies a patient as brain dead a “first right” to three organs of the patient, being the liver, heart, and one kidney.

“The petitioner apprehends that often the patient is certified as brain dead by a committee of three doctors from that same hospital and one doctor from another private hospital, without performing the required tests,” the petition said.

“While the organs are not commercially bought or sold, the cost of conducting the transplant yields between Rs. 1.5 crore and Rs. 2 crore to a hospital, becoming a perverse incentive for wrong or premature certification,” the petition contended.

The plea said the State policy should be in tune with the Supreme Court’s judgments protecting the sanctity of life.

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