Crackdown: Illegal organ transplant center ceased in Lahore

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Police in Lahore have raided and arrested a group of doctors and medical staff operating an illegal organ transplant center.

A case has been registered against Dr Amir, Dr Sarfaraz, Dr Ramazan, and two clinic staff. The five-member group was running the racket at a private hospital called Mai Nazeeran Darul Shafa.

The complaint was made by Mr Waseem Akhtar, who had undergone a kidney transplant surgery at this private hospital in July. Awais, someone he had met at Rasheed Hospital, had convinced him to get the transplant done for Rs25 lakhs.

According to the complaint filed, Mr Waseem began having severe pain after the surgery. Upon knowing about the condition of their patient, the doctors disappeared. He visited another hospital where he was informed that his kidney was not functioning properly and he was at risk of death if it wasn’t removed immediately.

The complaint also named other patients that had been cheated by the group, including one who was in critical condition at Shaikh Zayed Hospital.

In June 2014, the CIA Cantt in Lahore arrested a group of five involved in illegal organ transplant and trade. The CIA reached the group while investigating the case of an 18-year-old who had gone missing at the time. The accused, back then, confessed that the man had been kidnapped for an illegal kidney transplant, but did not survive the surgery. They also informed that another 23-year-old had died the same way.

The Anti Trafficking Unit (ATU), a federal investigation agency, believes that the lack of good organ transplant facilities in the country has increased human trafficking to other countries such as India or Sri Lanka.

Doctors believe that the black market, illegal transplant centers and the ‘cash for kidney’ trend would end only once hospitals in Pakistan start to specialize in kidney and liver transplant. The hospitals would initially start joint ventures with hospitals in other countries like India and Sri Lanka, which already specialize in the field.

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