WITH days to go before the Powai police files its chargesheet in the illegal kidney donation racket case, accused urologist Dr Mukesh Shah has approached the Directorate of Health Services (DHS), asking that his suspended licence for conducting kidney transplants be reinstated.
The matter has been taken up for discussion by DHS Director Dr Mohan Jadhav.
Soon after the kidney racket was busted in July, the Directorate of Medical Education and Research (DMER) and DHS had suspended the licences of the doctors concerned — Shah, nephrologist Dr Mukesh Shete and urologist Dr Prakash Shetty – from conducting transplants in any hospital. Additionally, Dr L H Hiranandani Hospital’s licence was suspended from conducting organ transplants and its patients were referred to other hospitals.
While Shah and Shetty were operating surgeons, Shete was nephrologist in-charge of the four alleged illegal kidney transplants in Hiranandani Hospital that have come under police scanner so far.
Shah is currently attached with 12 hospitals in Mumbai and has at least 40 kidney transplant patients in waiting list for the next 15 days in various hospitals. In his letter, he said: “A lot of patients are on the waiting list and are suffering because of my inability to conduct transplants… Their case has been approved by local bodies.”
He added the kidney racket has “resulted in a big dent in my reputation”. “I am in the operating part of the transplant team. I have no role to play in patient-donor selection. The patient-donor feasibility is the nephrologist’s job and document verification part is assigned to the transplant coordinator and local authorisation committee of various centers,” Shah said in his letter, adding there was no substantial evidence against him.
According to DHS Assistant Director Dr Gauri Rathod, the request for reinstating transplant licence has still not been approved. Nephrologist Shete is also set to sent a request to the DHS for reinstating his licence. “I will be sending the letter in the coming week. We don’t have permission to conduct transplants so far,” he said.
Meanwhile, Hiranandani Hospital trustee Niranjan Hiranandani was called for questioning by the state health department over the kidney racket case. In his statement, he said the hospital would approach DHS for a transplant licence again, once secured procedures were put in place for verifying documents.