Legal & Ethical Issues?
1.What is legal position on Organ Donation?
Organ Transplantation and Donation is permitted by law, and covered under the “Transplantation of Human Organs Act 1994”, which has allowed organ donation by live & Brain-stem Dead donors. In 2011, amendment of the Act also brought in donation of human tissues, there by calling the Amended Act “Transplantation of Human Organs & Tissues Act 2011”.
2.Can people buy / sell organs?
No. As per Transplant of Human Organ Act (THOA), buying/ selling of organ in any way is punishable and has significant financial as well judicial punishment. Not only in India, but in any part of world, selling of an organ is not permissible.
3. Whom do I report, in case, I find that there is a sale of organs?
In case, anybody submitting false records or any other delinquency should be reported to the Appropriate Authority of the State Government, Department of Health & Family Welfare. Any hospital, Authorization Committee, or a person can approach the State Appropriate Authority. The Appropriate Authority can file a case against the party.
As per the Amended 2011 THO Act offenses/punishments are as follow:
|Offence ( THO Act 2011 Amendment)||Imprisonment||Fine|
|Removal of organs without authority||10 years||Rs. 20 Lakh|
|Removal of organs without authority – Penalty for RMP||1st offence: de-registration for 3 years||2nd offence: permanent de-registration|
|Commercial dealing in organs, falsification of documents||5 ֠10 years||Rs. 20 Lakh ֠1 crore|
|Any violation of THOA||5 years||Rs. 20 Lakh|
4.Does Government of India financially support organ transplant?
Yes. Government of India has started National Organ and Transplant Program (NOTP), under which patients below poverty line are supported for the cost of transplant as well as cost of immunosuppressant after transplant for one year. Other than this, renal transplant in all public hospitals is subsidized as per Government of India policy.
5.Is it possible to jump the waiting list if you are rich, well connected and influential?
No. In India, the allocation of organs to recipients on the waiting list is based on predetermined criteria which include date of registration and medical criteria.
The wealth, race, or gender of a person on the waiting list has no effect on when and whether a person will receive a donated organ. The Transplantation of Human Organs Act of 1994 makes it illegal to buy or sell human organs in India.
6.If someone desperately needs an organ, is there any point in making a special appeal?
Any special appeal usually results in more people agreeing to become donors and can increase the number of organs pledging.
However, family appeals through the newspapers and television will not result in an organ immediately becoming available for the person on whose behalf the appeal was made. The patient will still be on the waiting list, just like everyone else, and the rules that govern the matching and allocation of donor organs to recipients still apply.