ABUJA – The management of a popular Abuja health centre, Alliance Hospital, has denied harvesting the kidney of a teenager whose elder brother accused the hospital of alleged organ harvesting.
The hospital was reacting to the allegation by a yet-to-be-identified man in a viral video that the hospital allegedly harvested the organ of his younger brother.
The man who was seen in the viral video outside the hospital building claimed his younger brother is a minor that cannot consent to an organ donation.
According to him, “This hospital does not have any right to remove a 17-year-old kidney and sell it.
“I am taking this issue up and will report it immediately to human rights officials.”
But addressing journalists on Friday, Chief Consultant Surgeon and Medical Director of the hospital, Dr Otabor Christopher, who refused to disclose the name of the teenager said the kidney transplant was done with the teenager’s consent without any cohesion or intimidation.
He said the hospital will commence legal action against the “young man who posted the said video for defamation of character.”
According to him, contrary to claims, the donor was 18 years and two months at the time of the surgery, adding that he (donor) was not financially induced to donate his kidney.
Christopher disclosed that the patient (recipient) also deposed to an affidavit stating that the donor is his nephew, adding that the hospital proceeded with the surgery which turned out to be successful after a positive compatibility and surgery fitness test were carried out.
He said the hospital has carried out 64 kidney transplant surgeries with 97 per cent of the patients discharged home after a successful procedure.
He 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 a kidney transplant that was done in this hospital on Friday, November 11, 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 to fit to donate, then the administrative and legal procedures are undertaken.
Part of the legal procedure requires that the patient swears to an affidavit stating the following:
“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.
“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 September 14, 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.”
The managing director said the hospital was shocked when it received an invitation from the Human Rights Radio and Television on November 24, 2022, over an allegation against the hospital involving a breach of promise concerning a kidney donor.
He said: “On November 24, 2022, exactly 2 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.
“Two representatives from the hospital went to honour that invitation. Also present were members of the 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 N2.8 million 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 N2.8m and fulfill other promises, otherwise, they will escalate the case.”
Christopher expressed surprise at the submission of the family at the human rights radio and television meet.
He said the claims of the family were contrary to what information the donor gave to the hospital for which he also disposed to an affidavit.
He added: “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 human right radio and television have been suspended.
“What we are witnessing today is a major drawback of 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 organization who fails to exercise the necessary professionalism and precaution in the suit.”