Kidney scams are nothing new in India. In January 1995 a kidney scandal came up and there was tremendous public and media outcry causing the Indian Congress to pass a legislation banning kidney trade. On January 15, 1995 Customs officers in Delhi uncovered a “Kidney tour” racket in which donors were enticed to go abroad for removal and subsequent transplant of their kidneys. Hundreds of donors were believed to have gone on such tours. Then a series of other such scams were discovered, one of which was in a rehabilitation colony (Villivakkam) for leprosy patients near Madras and then one in Bangalore which the kidneys of nearly 1,000 unsuspecting people had been removed in a leading city hospital by prominent doctors.
I believe one cannot run such a smooth operation without the knowledge of the higher ups. Right now the king pin of the current operation has vanished from India. A person who is operating 5 different accounts with 2 major hospitals in his name can provide a way out of India very easily. And yes he will return once the media and the public have something more juicier to chew upon. The laws we have established is not for the unsuspecting poor, who will be cheated again and most of them even without their knowledge. After all, living with one kidney is much easier than living on an empty stomach.
I am not sure how this can ever be stopped with rising kidney demands from all over the world. Even in Kuwait one constantly sees requests for kidneys in the daily’s. For the kidney patient, if he is rich enough, getting a kidney will be the best he can do with his money. He may not think twice about the poor donor.
As for India, our cultural and religious beliefs still prevent us from letting us donate our kidneys upon death. This itself can take care of a part of the demand for those kidney patients from India.
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