NDTV has been reporting consistently on the poor fisherwoman of Chennai.Driven to poverty after the 2004 tsunami, they were convinced by touts to sell their kidney for money.Now many of them, unable to take proper post surgery care of themselves, are suffering major health complications and could even face death if their single kidney fails.Many of them will need a transplant soon, something they can ill afford.

Helpless victims

Malar,kidney donor, thought selling one of her kidneys for Rs 40,000 would end all her problems, but it instead turned out to be the beginning of a painful life.

Three years after the surgery, a complication in the kidney transplant is causing severe pain in her back.

Recently, came the shocking news from doctors that her only kidney may fail anytime. There is no word from the recipient from Bihar who promised her post-operative care.

Having spent all her money on treatment, she is now left with nothing.

“Now after doctors at the Stanley hospital say I can live only as long as the existing kidney functions, I don’t know what to do. They say I should not have sold my kidney. I sold it because I was poor,” says Malar.

Kala, another kidney donor, is suffering in silence. As the sole breadwinner in the family, she has not been able to go out to sell fish after the transplant earlier this month.

Donors vulnerable

While kidneys ought not to be removed from those with symptoms of diabetes and hypertension, this is often overlooked, making the donors who are left with just one kidney vulnerable to kidney failure.

“Sometimes the donor may have a minute stone in one of the kidneys, which could be overlooked during initial examination. This could develop in future, affecting the existing kidney. This is the danger in young people giving away their kidney,” said Dr Subba Rao, Nephrologist.

Most of these poor women thought selling one of their kidneys would get them a better life. But ironically, their very health has turned worse.

While the recipients to whom they gave a new lease of life have abandoned them, they don’t know where to go, should their only kidney fail.