Risks of Overseas Treatment - Kidney Transplant Problems in Pakistan
Citizens of Bahrain who have gotten kidney transplants in Pakistan have had a number of problems with their surgeries, according to the Salmaniya Medical Complex. There have also been problems with transplants received in the Philippines. Overseas kidney ops spark alert
By MANDEEP SINGH
SEVEN cases of complications among Bahrainis who received kidneys outside the country have been reported at the Salmaniya Medical Complex (SMC) in the last four months.
"The recipients, all of them with various kinds of complications, are now receiving prolonged treatment at the hospital," said sources.
"They have all had transplants from unrelated donors in the Philippines and in Pakistan."
Six of the seven have severe post-operative complications, while the seventh patient has suffered acute chronic rejection of the new organ.
"This patient is now being treated with a very high dose of steroids and other drugs to try to save his life," said sources.
The other six are also being treated but their condition has been described as stable.
Authorities in Bahrain have repeatedly warned people against going abroad for kidney or other organ transplants from unrelated donors.
A Bahraini man, in his mid-40s, died in the SMC in September last year, a month after having a kidney transplant in Pakistan.
He was one of the four who had gone to Pakistan between July and August last year to receive kidneys.
One of the other three suffered acute rejection while two others returned with open and infected wounds, said sources.
"They had to be treated for a prolonged period of time before they were declared stable," said the sources.
They said the Health Ministry had run up a bill of BD100,000 in the process.
On average, two out of four Bahrainis who travel to Pakistan and the Philippines every month for such transplants, suffer complications.
"Since tough laws have ensured unrelated donors' kidneys are not transplanted in India and Iran any more, people tend to go to Pakistan and Philippines," said sources.
"The reason the complications happen is that patients return home within two weeks and expect to be followed-up in Bahrain, rather than do that with the doctor who carried out the surgery.
"This is generally not enough, also because every doctor looks at a case differently." Another reason is that kidneys received from unrelated, living donors have a very high percentage of rejection, as opposed to living related donors.
"When patients go abroad, the organs are almost always 'procured from the market' and this can prove to be fatal," said sources.
A senior doctor, who would not be named, admitted that there was no comprehensive transplant programme in Bahrain and the easy availability of human organs in many countries was taking people there.
"Another reason is that Bahrain lacks donors, a problem which is now being addressed," he said.
The doctor said looking after the 'gone bad' cases leads to a lack of beds, expensive management and related issues.
For example, one dose of an anti-suppressant drug used in cases of acute rejection costs BD5,000," he said.