Astrologers 'stall' kidney transplant

Auspicious time

A swap kidney transplant in Bengaluru was put off for a month as two families clashed over the dates given by their respective astrologers.

Doctors were caught in the crossfire as the two parties couldn't agree on an "auspicious" time for the procedure. 

Swap transplant is carried out when a living kidney donor is ineligible to donate the organ to the member of the same family and hence, exchanges kidneys with another donor/recipient pair. A basic mandate of this form of transplant is that the transplant ought to happen at the same place and same time, simultaneously.

Doctors at the Manipal Hospitals found such a match between a husband and a wife, and a brother and a sister. As the wife was incompatible with the husband for donation, she could donate to the brother from another family while his sister would donate a kidney to her husband.

"Both the men were on dialysis for a year now. The wife's blood group did not match with the husband's and hence, we had to choose another donor. We got approvals from the transplant committee and were all set for the procedure. It was then that the problems started," said Dr Sankaran Sundar, transplant surgeon, Manipal Hospitals.

While the husband-wife duo are software professionals working in Bengaluru, the brother-sister duo are from a rural background and are uneducated. Both the families, unrelated to each other, met with their family doctors and proposed different dates.

"Neither would budge. While the couple said their astrologer had said November 19 was auspicious, the siblings said their astrologer said November 18 was a good date. We tried to convince them. There was a delay in the transplant for about a month due to this," said Dr Sundar.

"I finally threatened the patients that I would not go ahead with the transplants if this was the case. Finally, the software engineers budged and we are set to perform the transplant on November 18," he said.

The doctors are in the process of counselling the families and explaining the procedure, as the law mandates it, given the risks involved.

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