Nidan Hospital CEO, four others arrested

Kathmandu, October 16

Police today arrested five persons, including CEO of Pulchowk-based Nidan Hospital Bipendra Pradhan, on the charge of illegally transplanting kidney to a kidney patient.

Others arrested are hospital’s Legal Officer Kumud Kumar Bhattarai, general physician of the hospital Rajesh Panta, Section Officer of Lalitpur District Office Ram Chandra Ale and kidney recipient Shankar Lal Lama.

Except for the kidney recipient, all others arrested were members of the Kidney Transplantation Approval Committee formed by the hospital.

According to Deputy Superintendent of Police Raj Kumar Silwal, who led the investigation, Shankar Lal Lama, 56, of Doramba, Ramechhap, was supposed to receive a kidney from his nephew, Sanjeev Ghising, but on August 8, the day the transplantation was to take place, the family of the patient produced a different man with forged documents claiming that he was Ghising. The man had his photo pasted on the kidney transplantation document issued for Sanjeev Ghising.

Police said the hospital knowingly indulged in illegal kidney transplantation.

Hospital’s Kidney Transplantation Approval Committee had authorised Ghising to donate his kidney as he was the patient’s nephew.

As per the human organ transplantation law, patients can receive kidney from their close relatives. However, in case they cannot do so for some reason, they can get the kidney from unrelated persons only after consent of immediate family members of both the parties and without any monetary transaction between the donor and the recipient.

The committee had registered Ghising’s name in their record and handed over a separate unique identity card with his photo to be presented at the hospital during transplantation process.

But, in a dramatic twist, a third person, with the same unique identity card, reached the hospital on the day Lama was to undergo kidney transplantation. The card, which was issued to Ghising, had the photo of the third person. Police said the photo on the card was forged.

According to DSP Silwal,   a nurse of the hospital (whose identity has been concealed) had reported the incident to the hospital management the same day following which the hospital called the meeting of the Transplantation Approval Committee to discuss the matter. But the committee ruled out the nurse’s claim, saying it was the same person and she might have got confused because the donor had lost some weight.

He added that even a lay person could verify that the photo on the document issued to Ghising did not match with the person who claimed he was Ghising.

Following the controversy, the Anti-human Trafficking Bureau of Nepal Police raided the hospital and confiscated all the related documents from the hospital. Initially the police did not have information about the donor, but after sometime they came to know where he was residing.

“We found the 37-year-old donor, who hails from Kavre district, living in abject poverty inside a dingy room in Bhaktapur,” DSP Silwal said. The donor, who was rescued by police, filed an FIR against the five persons, accusing them of luring him to sell his kidney for Rs 3 lakh.

Police said they were still investigating whether hospital management was also involved in the illegal kidney transplantation or only members of the Transplantation Approval Committee were running the racket.

The kidney transplant was conducted by transplant surgeon Dr Pukar Shrestha.

Kidney recipient and the donor are in good health, according to police.  Hospital management could not be contacted for comments.

Illegal transplantation of kidney carries a jail sentence up to five years.