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Minor’s plea to donate liver tissue to father: Delhi High Court refuses to interfere until petitioner reaches permissible BMI

The Medical Superintendent of ILBS submitted that all the test results of the petitioner were within specified parameters, except for his BMI, which was 17.8 and the said BMI was 0.2 below the permissible threshold.

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The Delhi High Court on Tuesday directed the Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences (ILBS) to re-record the Body Mass Index (BMI) of the minor who is willing to donate his liver to his ailing father and made it clear that it will not interfere and pass directions for liver donation until the petitioner reaches the threshold BMI.

Justice Rekha Palli was hearing a plea filed by the minor seeking setting aside of the order dated August 28, 2021, passed by Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences (ILBS) and Authorization Committee as per Section 13(1) of Transplantation of Human Organs and Tissues Act 1994, whereby, the petitioner had been prohibited to donate a part of his liver, to his ailing father.

The Medical Superintendent of ILBS submitted that all the test results of the petitioner were within specified parameters, except for his BMI, which was 17.8 and the said BMI was 0.2 below the permissible threshold.

At this point, Justice Palli asked if the petitioner can be permitted, as the BMI is only 0.2 below the threshold. The ILBS Medical Superintendent replied by stating the operating surgeon had opined that it was not advisable for the petitioner to undergo a surgery for removal of 65% of the petitioner’s liver. He added that once the petitioner attains a BMI of 18, the surgery can be performed.

At the previous hearing, the court had directed the Medical Superintendent of ILBS to remain present on the next date of hearing, whilst directing ILBS to file reports of all tests conducted by the Hospital while setting out the tests that are a part of the checklist for liver donation and the ones additionally conducted by ILBS.

According to the petition, the petitioner’s father is suffering from advance stage of liver failure. The petitioner’s father is undergoing treatment at ILBS and is in urgent need of a liver transplant.

The petition avers, several family members of the petitioner’s family have applied for the donation of their liver, including his mother, elder brother, aunt and uncle, but due to certain medical complications, the applications could not be accepted.

The petition further avers, upon testing it was found that, the petitioner could donate a part of his liver to his father and hence, on August 27, 2021, the petitioner applied to the Authorization Committee, for the permission to donate a part of his liver, to his father. On August 28, 2021 the said application was rejected, stating, the petitioner was a minor. The petitioner’s age on the date of refusal was 17 years, 8 months and 19 days.

According to the petition, in Transplantation of Human Organs and Tissues Act 1994, there is no absolute bar on donation of Human Organ or Tissue by a minor. Rule 5(3)(g) of Transplantation of Human Organs and Tissues Rules 2014, states, living organ or tissue donation by minor is not permitted, except medical grounds to be recommended in detail, with justification and prior approval of competent authority.

The petition was filed and argued by Advocate Prasoon Kumar and has been listed for further arguments on October 29.

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