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Stem cell case: Punjab and Haryana HC stays proceedings

In 2014, seven-year-old Harleen Kaur, who was suffering from thalassemia major (a blood disorder), died after her stem cell donor backed out at the last minute.

stem cell, punjab stem cell case, punhab haryana high court, harleen kaur stem cell case, fatehgarh sahib, bone marrow, thalassaemia, stem cell, donation, DATRI blood stem cell, punjab news, india news, health news Harleen Kaur with her father and brother. (Express Photo)

The Punjab and Haryana High Court on Friday stayed proceedings of the Amloh trial court in the stem cell donor case after the two accused approached it saying that they cannot be booked in the case.

In 2014, seven-year-old Harleen Kaur, who was suffering from thalassemia major (a blood disorder), died after her stem cell donor backed out at the last minute. In India, stem cell donation is voluntary. According to experts, the case is unique for the many ethical questions that will be raised regarding the donor’s role in medical treatment.
Inderpreet Singh, the girl’s father, filed a case in the Amloh court against Christian Medical College and Hospital, Ludhiana (CMCH) and Datri, a Chennai-based stem cell registry, that had arranged the donor.

Dr Joseph John of CMCH of Datri CEO Raghu Rajagopal appeared before the high court headed by Justice Jaspal Singh on Friday.

The court, after having heard the petitions, issued notice of motion to Inderpreet asking for his reply by May 20, the next date of hearing.

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The court further ordered, “Meanwhile, further proceedings pending before the trial court (Amloh) shall remain stayed.”

The order came a day after the sessions court of Fatehgarh Sahib on Thursday, accepted the bail application of Rajagopal, and verbally ordered him to submit an affidavit stating the complete details of the donor to the Amloh court within 10 days.

Inderpreet’s petition said that Harleen died at CMCH on November 4, 2014 after her donor backed out at last minute. She was to undergo stem cell bone marrow transplant on October 16 after chemotherapy which destroyed her stem cells.

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Regarding the orders of Fatehgarh sessions court, Rajagopal said, “We have not seen the court orders and hence will not be able to respond to this as yet.”

The father in his petition has raised two points regarding the death of his daughter. He has pointed out that the CMCH doctors, despite having a bone marrow stem cell preservation unit, failed to preserve his daughter’s cell as back-up (in case transplanted cells were rejected by the body) and that chemotherapy was started on October 10 even when the donors’ cells had not even arrived at the hospital.

The cells were scheduled to reach the hospital on October 15 and the transplant was scheduled for October 16. As per the father’s petition, the two sessions of chemotherapy given to Harleen, before donor backed out on October 11 morning, worsened her condition to a level that she failed to recover

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“I will fight the case till the end as I need an answer to the question that due to whose negligence my daughter died. If not Datri or CMCH or donor, who was responsible for her death?,” Inderpreet told The Indian Express.

First published on: 20-02-2016 at 05:36 IST
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