By Joseph Erunke
ABUJA – THE management of Alliance Hospital and Services Limited, Abuja, has denied any wrongdoing in the alleged underage kidney harvest in the hospital, saying the process leading to the kidney donation and transplant followed constitutional procedures.
The hospital said contrary to insinuations in some quarters, the donor involved in the allegation is not only related to the patient but also consented to donate his organ.
The Chief Consultant Surgeon and Medical Director, Alliance Hospital and Services Limited, Dr Otabor Christopher,who addresed the media in Abuja, Friday evening, explained that till date, Alliance Hospital has carried out 64 kidney transplant surgeries with 97 percent of the patients discharged home after a successful procedure.
The explanation came on the heels of a video which has been trending online where a young man alleged that Alliance Hospital harvested a kidney from a 17 year old boy and sold it, threatening to take the matter to the human rights community.
But Dr Otabor Christopher insisted that his hospital carried out the procedure in line with the law,alleging that those behind the allegation were out to tarnish the hospital’s hard earned reputation.
He said:”Some of you may have seen a video that has been trending online where a young man alleged that Alliance Hospital harvested a kidney from a 17 year old boy and sold it and he threatened to take the matter to human right.
“I am here to set the record straight.
Kidney transplant is a very complex undertaking involving two major surgeries simultaneously. It requires very painstaking pre-operative protocols as well as diligent post-operative care for a good outcome.
“For above reason, only few hospitals around the country and the world can muster the resources and technical depth to safely engage in kidney transplant operation.
“Till date, Alliance Hospital has carried out 64 kidney transplant surgeries with 97% of the patients discharged home after a successful procedure.
” Procedures like this represent the only hope for thousands of patients suffering from chronic kidney failure who are currently undergoing dialysis until the conditions are met for transplant.”
Speaking further,the medical expert said:”The young man in the video is the brother of a patient (name withheld) who was a kidney donor in the last batch of kidney transplant that was done in this hospital on Friday, 11th November, 2022.
“As a rule, patients source for their donors from amongst members of their families or friends and present to the hospital for compatibility test. If the patients and proposed donors are found to be compatible, then further tests are done to determine the fitness of the donor for kidney donation surgery.
“Once the donor is determined fit to donate, then the administrative and legal procedures are undertaken. “
According to him,”Part of the legal procedure requires that the patient swear to an affidavit stating that he is above 18 years of age which is the legal requirement in Nigeria, that there is no financial inducement and that he is not paid any amount of money to undertake this venture, that he is consenting to the procedure willingly and without any cohesion and that his relationship with the recipient”
“In the case in question, the donor duly swore to an affidavit and stated as follows: He was born on 14th September, 2004. He was 18 years and 2 months at the time of the surgery.
There was no financial inducement. He consented to the procedure willingly without any cohesion or intimidation.
He stated that the recipient is his uncle The patient also deposed to an affidavit stating that the donor is his nephew.
“With the above documentation, and a positive compatibility and surgery fitness test, the hospital proceeded with the surgery which as always turned out to be successful.
Both the donor and patient were discharged home at the appropriate time without any complications”, he explained.
He, however expressed surprise that,”On the 24th November, 2022, exactly two weeks after the surgery, we got an invitation from the highly esteemed Ordinary President, the founder of Human Rights Radio and Television here in Abuja who is a certified arbitrator.”
“He informed us that a case of breach of promise regarding a kidney donor has been levied against the hospital and he gave us an opportunity to come and defend ourselves.”
He spoke further:”Two representatives from the hospital went to honour that invitation. Also present were members of family of the donor. The family members (his brother and sister) spoke on behalf of the donor and they made the following points:That the patient is 17 years old. That the recipient is not a biological relative of the donor.
That there has been an intermediary person (unknown to the hospital) who contacted the donor on behalf of the recipient to donate his kidney for a financial consideration of ₦2.8m and a promise to relocate him abroad. That the intermediary person did not give the donor any amount of money as promised. That the hospital should pay the family the said ₦2.8m and fulfil other promises, otherwise they will escalate the case.
“As a hospital we were surprised at the submission of the family at the human rights radio and television meeting. We expressed our surprise at the claims of the family which were contrary to what information the donor gave to the hospital for which he also disposed to an affidavit.
“We took exception to the claims of the family and advised them to locate the intermediary person to discuss their grievances. We were to have another meeting with the ordinary president before the brother of the donor released the video in question in bad faith. Meanwhile further meetings with the human right radio and television have been suspended.
“What we are witnessing today is a major drawback of the social media whereby unsubstantiated stories fly across the world with the speed of light. This gives credence to the argument by some that the social media space should be regulated.
“I will conclude by saying that the facts before us as a hospital state clearly that the donor in question is over 18 years of age and by Nigerian Constitution, he is an adult.
“Our lawyers have been briefed to commence a legal suit against the young man who posted the said video for defamation of character and we may be forced to join any media organisation who fail to exercise the necessary professionalism and precaution in the suit.”