A 33-year-old Dalit man, who had been provided money by the Prime Minister’s Office five months ago for a kidney transplant, died on Wednesday morning, still waiting for the surgery.
The PM’s office had deposited Rs 2.17 lakh into the bank account of Lucknow’s Sanjay Gandhi Post Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences (SGPGI) in February to treat Santosh Kumar of Varanasi. But, hospital authorities said they were in no position to slot an appointment for a surgery for the next eight months.
BJP leaders from Varanasi and Lucknow had reportedly been pushing to get an appointment for Kumar, whose parents died six years ago. He, along with his elder sister Rita, used to earn for three other siblings.
Rita, who was supposed to donate her kidney to Kumar, told The Indian Express that doctors had diagnosed last year that both his kidneys were not functioning. He had been undergoing treatment at SGPGI since November 2014.
Rita, who lives in Varanasi’s Rohaniya area, said the SGPGI gave an estimate of Rs 4.37 lakh for the kidney transplant, and she approached the PM’s constituency office in Varanasi seeking financial help.
She said they deposited Rs 2.17 lakh into SGPGI’s account in February. “But SGPGI doctors kept on postponing the surgery date citing a long list of patients who were waiting for a transplant. They asked us to continue dialysis. I met BJP state president Laxmikant Bajpai in Varanasi, who talked to the SGPGI director on the matter,” Rita said.
She said SGPGI director Professor Rakesh Kapoor subsequently suggested conducting the surgery at King George Medical University (KGMU) under the supervision of SGPGI doctors.
“But we still kept on waiting for a date. Santosh’s condition deteriorated on Wednesday. I rushed him to BHU hospital, where doctors declared him brought dead,” Rita said.
“This happened because of the ignorance of politicians and SGPGI administration, who did not understand the seriousness of the medical condition of a common man,” she claimed.
KGMU vice-chancellor Ravi Kant said the SGPGI director contacted him on July 1. “I told him that KGMU could only provide the operation theatre for the surgery, but the patient would have to be shifted to SGPGI afterwards because he will require the supervision of a nephrologist. No communication happened after that,” the V-C said.
Kapoor said the BJP state president had approached him about 20 days ago. “There is an eight-month waiting list for kidney transplant surgeries. The list is available online and it cannot be broken. I had given an option to conduct the surgery in KGMU in the presence of SGPGI doctors and the matter was being pursued,” Kapoor said.
When contacted, the Lok Sabha constituency in-charge of Varanasi — the PM’s constituency — Shiv Sharan Pathak said Rita had visited them around three months ago for financial assistance.
“The Prime Minister’s Office had transferred the amount of Rs 2.17 lakh into the bank account of SGPGI for surgery. BJP MLC and Kashi region president Laxman Acharya had assured to pay the rest of the amount from his MLA fund,” Pathak said.
Bajpai said Rita had met him on May 30 and he spoke to the SGPGI director immediately afterwards. “I also wrote a letter to the SGPGI director and KGMU vice-chancellor. But, it is unfortunate that he died. I had sent BJP leaders of Varanasi to attend his last rites,” Bajpai said.