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Indian doctors hope kidney scandal will spur cadaver donation programme

BMJ 2008; 336 doi: (Published 21 February 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;336:413
  1. Ganapati Mudur
  1. 1New Delhi

India’s health ministry, in the wake of a racket involving illegal kidney transplantations, has announced plans to promote donations from cadavers. It will allow more hospitals to harvest organs from brain stem dead patients and offer incentives to relatives of dead donors.

Police have arrested a doctor, Amit Kumar, and his associates, for allegedly performing hundreds of clandestine kidney transplantations in Gurgaon, an industrial town near New Delhi. Police claim that Dr Kumar used a network of touts to lure poor people into giving up their kidneys for payments of about 60 000 rupees (£770; €1030; $1510) and that the organs were transplanted into patients from India, Europe, and the United States.

India outlawed trade in human organs in 1994, but transplantation surgeons have said that organ sales have persisted because of a shortage of cadaver donors and collusion among donors, doctors, and patients waiting for a transplant.

But the scale of …

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