Thiruvananthapuram: Born in an impoverished family, 17-year-old Jayasree had both her kidneys damaged at the age of 11, saw her father lose his mental balance and now, when she finally saw a flicker of hope after a priest came forward to donate his kidney for free -- a law stopped him from doing so.
Speaking to IANS, Father Santhosh George said it is quite strange that government hospitals allow kidney transplants only when the doner and donee are relatives.
"I saw the news reports of this young girl struggling for life and I came forward to donate one of my kidneys but rules do not allow that and it is quite strange," said 39-year-old George, who turned a priest just 18 months back.
On Wednesday, George and Jayasree`s relatives staged a sit-in in front of the state secretariat.
Former apex court judge V.R. Krishna Iyer, who was also present at the site, said that such needless rules in the state-run medical colleges should go. "These rules are unethical and have to be re-written," said Iyer.
However, these rules don`t apply in private hospitals and anyone can donate a kidney to anyone.
"We checked up and we are told that it would cost more than five lakh rupees for the surgery in a private hospital. The girl`s father is a labourer and has lost his mental balance after treating his daughter for the past six years. We are poor and can`t afford these hefty expenses," said Sreekumar, the girl`s uncle.
The Satya Sai Trust has come forward to meet all the expenses if the surgery is done at the state-run medical college.
"We did meet Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and are now hoping that the rule is relaxed in our case. In every case, it`s the donor who is the problem and here when I have come forward to do it for free, rules do not permit, it is sad indeed," said George.