Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley underwent a kidney transplant at AIIMS, New Delhi, today. The surgery has been termed "successful". "Both the recipient and donor are stable and recovering well," said Dr Aarti Vij, chairperson, media and protocol division in a statement issued to the press.
The minister was scheduled to undergo the transplant surgery in April, but the procedure had to be postponed because of a “mismatch” with the donor. He was then put on dialysis at AIIMS, until a new donor was found. The minister had, in 2014, also undergone a bariatric surgery at Max Hopsital in Saket. In 2005, he had undergone a bypass surgery, too.
On April 5, the minister had tweeted about his health condition: "I am being treated for kidney related problems & certain infections that I have contracted. I am therefore currently working from controlled environment at home. The future course of my treatment would be determined by the doctors treating me."
The subject of his transplant had also turned controversial with allegations of the minister jumping the queue for the procedure being made in the press and on social media networks. The allegations were not unfounded—the minister was getting the operation despite a waiting list of around 400 patients for the same procedure. In 2016, similar concerns were raised when Union External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj got the renal transplant surgery.
The department of nephrology at AIIMS, which is short of infrastructure that had not been updated since its inception almost three decades ago, was unable to cater to the growing demand for renal transplants, sources at AIIMS said.
Besides, there was the problem of organ donation—in India, more than 90 per cent of kidney transplants were done through live donors, that opened up the window for unethical practices. Hence, there was a need to encourage deceased organ donation.