The Telegraph
Sunday , November 11 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
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Test trauma for kidney patients

- Lack of facilities delays treatment and pushes up cost at SCB hospital

Bhubaneswar/Cuttack, Nov. 10: Prashant Routray preferred the urology department of SCB Medical College and Hospital when it came to his kidney transplant because the cost there appeared to be half of what private hospitals charge.

Private hospitals charge around Rs 3 lakh for the procedure.

But when Routray’s son Rakesh counted the costs after surgery, the expense came to around Rs 1.8 lakh, which was more than he had anticipated. Like Routray, almost everyone undergoing kidney transplant in the state has to cough up the extra money mainly because three major tests for determining the compatibility of the donor and receiver are conducted outside the state.

Sources said the state had no facilities for human leucocyte antigen , panel reactive antibody and leucocyte cross matching tests, which are crucial to any kidney transplant. Hence, patients not only have to pay at least Rs 30,000 more for these tests done outside Odisha, but also have to wait for nearly 10 days for the results.

At present, 130 patients who need a kidney transplant have been registered with SCB Medical College and Hospital, while 18 more are awaiting registration.

While the registration process itself takes over two months, the absence of high-end machines means further delay because samples normally have to be sent to the National Reference Laboratory, New Delhi, for tests. It takes nearly 10 days for the reports to reach SCB.

“The cost of these testing machines is between Rs 30 lakh and Rs 40 lakh. We have already approached the health minister and secretary but nothing has been done. If these machines are installed at SCB, people can save money,” said T.N. Panda of Multi Organ Transplantation and Human and Educational Research, a Bhubaneswar-based organisation.

Head of the urology department at SCB Medical College and Hospital Datteswar Hota said they had submitted a proposal to the government for improvement of infrastructure. “Finding skilled manpower is a big issue. There is a proposal to set up a renal lab where all investigations can be done,” said Hota.

Hota said they had submitted a proposal for the construction of an independent department for renal transplant at SCB. The renal lab will facilitate round-the-clock investigations while another six-bed intensive care unit has already been approved, he added.