Allegations of irregularities and illegal financial transactions between donors and recipients have surfaced at the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU) Super Specialised Hospital following the first kidney transplant here. The accusations include the use of false identities for both the kidney donor and recipient. This information was obtained from the kidney recipient's son and the kidney donor's brother.
The kidney transplant took place on Monday at the newly established Super Specialised Hospital of BSMMU. The government had invested Tk 15 billion in this state-of-the-art medical facility, aimed at providing advanced healthcare services to people. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina officially inaugurated the hospital on 14 September the previous year.
In the first kidney transplant surgery at the hospital, a team of 15 physicians participated, with renal transplant surgeon professor Habibur Rahman from the kidney department leading the surgical procedure. According to a notification issued by BSMMU on Monday, the recipient of the kidney was 42-year-old Sujan Roy, from Pirojpur, while the kidney donor was stated to be his younger brother, Sushen Roy, 31.
However, on Tuesday afternoon, a reliable source informed Prothom Alo that the kidney donor, in fact, was not Sushen Roy and the donor and recipient were not siblings. It was revealed that the donor had been promised to be sent to Greece in exchange for the kidney. This act goes against the prevailing laws of the country, which strictly state that only a legal next of kin, such as a sibling, can donate a kidney to a patient.
Visiting the super specialised hospital on Tuesday afternoon, it was learned that the kidney donor is in the ICU on the third floor. The kidney recipient is in the ICU of the sixth floor post-operative ward.
At hospital after news
On Monday, a private television channel broadcast news claiming that a brother had donated a kidney to his sibling at the Super Specialised Hospital of BSMMU. Upon watching the report, the kidney donor's wife and his brother were alarmed and decided to visit the hospital the following day to seek clarity on the matter. During their visit, this correspondent had the opportunity to meet and converse with them.
As per the actual details, the kidney donor currently receiving treatment at the hospital is Sumit Howladar, and his brother's name is Amit Howlader. Both brothers are twins and reside in Jhalakathi.
Amit Howladar, who is a few minutes older than his brother Sumit, expressed his surprise to Prothom Alo upon seeing news about his brother's kidney donation on television on Monday night. He immediately recognised Sumit from the photograph shown in the news. While the picture was accurate, the name of his brother mentioned in the report was incorrect.
Amit is employed in a factory in Tongi. During the incident, Sumit's wife was with him. She works as a nurse at a private hospital in the Panthpath area of the capital city. Sumit and his wife live in a rented house in the Farmgate area. Sumit himself is employed in a private company in Banani.
Sumit's wife told Prothom Alo that Sumit left home two days ago. Before leaving, he said that he was preparing to go abroad. Going to Barisal for a training as part of this. Sumit's wife also came to know about the kidney donation from television.
Amit, Sumit's wife and two other relatives were at BSMMU's Super Specialised Hospital till 6:00 pm Tuesday.
Brokers bagged Tk 300,000
Sujan Roy, the kidney recipient, is currently receiving treatment in the ICU on the sixth floor of the hospital. During a visit to the sixth floor on Tuesday evening, this correspondent discovered that Sagar Roy, Sujan's son, was not present at that time. However, he arrived later with six students from various educational institutions, including Dhaka University, who introduced them as his friends. In the presence of his friends, this correspondent talked to Sagar regarding his father's kidney transplant.
Sagar revealed to Prothom Alo that his father had been living in Greece for approximately 11-12 years before the kidney transplant. During his time in Greece, Sujan was diagnosed with kidney disease. However, the medical and kidney transplant expenses in Greece were exceedingly high. Due to this reason, Sujan made the decision to return to Bangladesh and seek treatment. He arrived in the country in December of the previous year.
Sagar said, he has been accompanying his father for treatment at BSMMU for several months. He insisted that the kidney donor, Sushen (real name Sumit), is indeed his uncle. When asked about his interaction with his uncle's wife, Sagar admitted that he had never met her since they recently got married, and he had never been to his uncle's house.
However, when the correspondent informed Sagar that they are aware the kidney donor is not his uncle, he was taken aback. Eventually, he acknowledged that the kidney donor was, in fact, not related to him.
According to Sagar, he encountered two individuals named Ranjit and Kalinga at BSMMU, and they offered their assistance in arranging a kidney transplant. They entered into an agreement, agreeing to pay Tk 300,000 for their services. Over the past four months, these individuals asked for various tests of his father in different hospitals in the capital. They also prepared all the necessary documents for the kidney transplant and presented pictures of multiple potential kidney donors, including the current donor. However, they did not promise to provide any financial compensation to Sumit Hawladar. Instead, they assured him that they would handle all the arrangements to send Sumit to Greece after the transplant.
Allegations of collusion between BSMMU officials and kidney brokers emerged earlier too. A case was also filed in this connection. Additionally, concerns have been raised about the current administration's attempts to run the super specialised hospital without adequate preparation. A university professor, who preferred to remain anonymous, stated that concealing illegal financial transactions and relationships would be challenging without some level of involvement of the university itself.
University Vice-Chancellor professor Sharfuddin Ahmed told Prothom Alo, “I am surprised to hear the incident from you. Knowing what exactly happened, I will take administrative action.”
*The report originally appeared in the print and online edition of Prothom Alo and has been rewritten for English edition by Farjana Liakat