Wednesday, July 14, 2004

TT: Whose organs?

Another Trinidadian who went to Pakistan for a kidney transplant has died.

His death brings to five the number of known people who died within weeks after the transplant. Earlier this month Rev Allison Nobbee, a former Moderator of the Presbyterian Church, died. His transplanted kidney had a herpes virus.

The latest death is that of Ramnarine Sewsankar, a 57-year-old employee with the Ministry of Works, who lived at Penal. He received the kidney transplant last week and was due to return home within ten days after the operation. The man, whose relatives yesterday requested anonymity, died at a hospital in Pakistan after the transplant.

His brother and several of his relatives are in Pakistan and his body is expected to be flown in to Trinidad tomorrow for cremation.

The spate of deaths of patients who had kidney transplants in Pakistan is causing concern among surgeons in Trinidad and Health Ministry officials. Efforts are being made to develop a system aimed at advising people how to proceed in getting transplants overseas, it was learned.

An emergency meeting of the Society of Surgeons, which has 80 members and is headed by Dr Steve Boodhuram, is scheduled for tomorrow to discuss the issue.

Health Minister John Rahael was not available for comment yesterday.
Why would anybody in their right mind go to Pakistan, that byword for backwardness, for a transplant of any kind?

What is the source of the transplant organs? What kind of testing is done for disease and blood-type compatibility? Since when is Pakistan the organ transplant capital of the Caribbean? What is animating TTians to head out to Pakistan for such?

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