by B. Premanand
From Indian Skeptic, Vol 9 No. 12 April 1997
On receiving a news paper clipping on the kidney racket in Satya Sai Baba's super specialty hospital in Puttaparthi we contacted the Skeptic group in Maharashtra and they gave me the address of Ramkumar Raiwadikar who would help me to get the photo-copies of all the records on the kidney that was stolen. I was not when my post card to Ramkumar came back as "not known" so also the Issues of Indian Skeptic wherein I had published the English version of the Marathi article by Ramkumar.
As I was visiting Pune for the State conference of the Maharashtra Andrha Shraddha Nirmulan Samithi from 21st to 23rd February 1997, I asked my friends in Pune to get Ramkumar and Balaji, the kidney donor to come to Pune with all the records. On 21st I met Ramkumar and showed him the returned post card and the journal with inscription "not known". I found that the address was correct and he agreed to send me the post which he had received in December 1996 so that action may be taken against the postal department for returning the post falsely.
The hospital records of the kidney transplantation are published on pages 28 to 33 and photographs of the post mortem done on the dead body of Trimbakbaba Rao on pages 24 to 27, 29 and 34. The two photographs on the cover page show the two original kidneys of Trimbakbaba Rao intact.
The Discharge Summary of Balaji states, that he is the renal donor to his father, IVP prompt concentration and excretion of contrast by both kidneys, normal size and position. The left donor nephrectomy done under G. A. Balaji was also given Medical Certification by the Sai Baba hospital as follows:
"This is to certify that Mr. Balaji S/o. Mr. Trimbakababa Rao donated one of his kidneys to his father. He is advised to absent from heavy manual work for three months".
In the discharge summary given to Trimbakbaba it is stated that the patient underwent renal transplant but as the transplant kidney did not function he was taken up for dialysis. They also allege to have done isotope scan and there was no perfusion to transplant kidney. The information about the isotope scan was a alter hand-written addition in the discharge summary.
The diagnosis after the transplant in the discharge summary says the CRF renal transplant primary non-functioning transplant kidney due to vascular occulation. He was asked to be on dialysis on alternate days.
Balaji's sister had agreed to donate her kidney to save their father and it is mentioned in the 2nd discharge summary that Trimbakbaba Rao's daughter is coming for donating kidney.
For dialysis, Balaji and his father had to stay outside in a hotel and he had to pledge their land and assets to the bank. He also had to take loans from his friends and well-wishers.[...]
The doctors in the Sai Baba hospital to do the 2nd transplantation of the kidney agreed to use the daughter's kidney. When Balaji read about the kidney racket in Bangalore and Bombay he wondered whether his kidney has been robbed. The murmuring of other patients about the kidney robbery going on in the Sai Baba hospital made him to think rationally and he wanted to make sure whether his kidney was really transplanted to his father, he returned back with his father to his home from Latur. On the advice of his doctor in Latur a sonography was done on his father on 5.8.1995 and it said that the transplanted kidney not visualised.
On medical advice on 7-8-1995 a CT Scan of the abdomen was performed. and the report said, that the patients own kidneys are well visualised and the transplanted kidney could not be visualised.
On 9.12.1995 Trimbakbaba expired and Balaji was not in town. When he returned back he found that his father was buried at the instigation of Sai Baba followers. He was said. He approached the Collector of the District and District Police Superintendent for permission to exhume the body for post-mortem. He was given permission and the post mortem stated that the transplant kidney was not there. That the kidney inside were the dead man's own kidneys.
Balaji had approached the Consumer Protection Council in Delhi and his petition was dismissed on flimsy technical grounds by the Chairman who is also a trustee of the Satya Sai Central Trust. The law says that the accused can not be the judge in his own case.
Balaji is in a fix. He is full in debt in his struggle to save his father. He also wants to see that such unethical practices do not continue in the Sai Baba hospital. Hundreds of kidney transplantations are conducted in Sai Baba's hospital on rich foreign devotees of Sai Baba. He says that it is necessary to investigate all the kidney transplantation cases and find out who donated the kidneys. It is also necessary to investigate the kidney transplantations on the date Balaji's kidney was removed. He cannot approach the courts as he is in penury. We wish that this case is taken by the Supreme Court of India as a Public Interest litigation and give justice to the family of Trimbakbaba Rao and also see that proper action is taken against the law breakers.
Balaji was staying with me in hotel room in Pune from 23rd night to 27th night of February 1997. He had pain in the stomach and could not get sleep. I would wake up hearing his growls. I wonder whether the removal of the kidney was done properly and hygienically and whether it has turned septic. He was so emotional when he said he would commit suicide before the court if he did not get justice. The only way to repay the loan he had taken to save his father would be to leave this world. I had to pacify him and make him understand that his mother and wife are dependent on him.
I am wondering how it would be possible for people like Balaji to approach the court of law to get justice? How will he be able to pay for the legal expenses? Even if he goes to a court, is he sure to get justice when Sai Baba can influence the judiciary and many of the judges are his followers. It is our Apex Court who should answer this questions.
Balaji has talked to me about his dreams. If he gets justice and compensation, he wants to utilise the money to purchase a dialysis machine so that the people like him can get free treatment.
The words below our National Emblem says "Sathyameva Jayathe" - that Truth alone would Triumph. Is it true? I am yet to see.
Latest news on the case of the disappeared kidney
We read from the "Deccan Chronicle" of 5.11.99:
"Hyderabad Nov 4: Justice G Raghu Ram of the Andhra Pradesh High Court on Thursday admitted a writ petition seeking initiation of criminal prosecution against the doctors of the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences, Puttaparthi in Anantapur district alleging malpractices regarding the transplantation of kidney.
The writ petition has been filed by Balaji Triambak Rao Karavande, who has alleged that the doctors of the institute removed a kidney from his body and did not transplant the same to his father... After he offered to donate one of his kidneys to save his father's life, the doctors at the institute operated on him on April 25 1994 and told him that the same would be transplanted to his father.
BT Karavande said that his father died in December 1995 and to his shock the doctors claimed that his father's body did not show signs of a new transplanted kidney. He informed the court that after this revelation, he lodged a complaint with the Latur (Maharashtra) police, who exumed the body, conducted a post-mortem, and confirmed that no kidney transplant has taken place.
He alleged that the police at Puttaparthi did not register the complaint and that he was thrown out of the hospital when he confronted the doctors with the relevant documents. he sought compensation of Rs 20 lakh and direction to the police to register a case and punish the guilty who played fraud upon him."
This story is also reported in "The Hindu", Hyderabad, 5.11.99.
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