Minor’s organ donation plea: Bombay HC asks her to amend plea after state authorisation committee rejects her application

16-yr-old is seeking to donate part of her liver to her ailing father but the state panel rejected her application taking the plea that the consent given is not out of free will

Urvi Mahajani | Updated on: Wednesday, May 11, 2022, 11:52 PM IST

Bombay HC  | Photo: Representative Image
Bombay HC | Photo: Representative Image

Mumbai: The Bombay high court allowed the 16-year-old girl who wishes to donate a part of her liver to her ailing father to amend her petition on Wednesday, and challenge the order of the state authorisation committee which had rejected her application a day earlier. The girl had sought to donate a portion of her liver to her father who is diagnosed with decompensated liver cirrhosis and has been asked by doctors to undergo an urgent liver transplant.

The state authorization committee, headed by the director of the Directorate of Medical Education and Research (DMER), rejected the girl’s application late on Tuesday, saying, “The committee cannot rule out the existence of emotional pressure and cannot confirm that the consent given by the minor daughter is out of free will.”

The committee, comprising eight doctors, further said that “the recipient is a chronic alcoholic, which is the likely cause of hepatic failure and has been drinking alcohol till recently and there is no documentation of rehabilitation”. The fact that the patient has hepatic failure due to alcohol has not been brought forward.

“The donor and her mother seem unaware of the risks and complications of the surgery to the donor and recipient,” adds the letter rejecting the minor’s application.

Besides, the committee has further said that the documents submitted by the hospital “do not justify exceptional circumstances” for accepting consent by a minor for urgent organ donation, the committee has said.

After interviewing the girl, her mother and other family members, the committee has said that she is the only child, conceived after six years of infertility treatment.

The committee had further said that the provisions under Rule 5(g) of the Transplantation of Human Organs and Tissues Rules, 2014, are not fulfilled. The rule says ‘living organ or tissue donation by minors shall not be permitted except on exceptional medical grounds to be recorded in detail with full justification.'

Following the rejection by the state authorisation body, the minor’s advocate, Tapan Thatte, approached the vacation bench of the HC seeking urgent hearing and direction to the government to allow the minor to donate part of her liver.

Government pleader P P Kakade submitted the report before the HC and pointed out that a panel of eight doctors had rejected the application and given detailed reasons for the same.

After going through the report, the judges remarked that eight doctors had signed the order rejecting the organ donation by the minor.

“One of the reasons is that the mother and daughter are unaware of the risks and complications of the surgery,” said Justice Menon.

Thatte submitted that every single day was crucial, as the doctors had given 15 days’ time to the father from the date of the filing of the petition, which is April 30.

The judges allowed Thatte to amend the petition and challenge the rejection order of the authorisation committee.

The girl had approached the HC, saying that the hospital authorisation committee was not accepting her application for organ donation.

Following the HC order, the hospital committee accepted her form but rejected her request, citing that she was a minor and the law does not permit organ donation by a minor. The HC, on May 6, had then asked the state authorisation committee to decide on her application independently.

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Published on: Wednesday, May 11, 2022, 11:52 PM IST