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EDITIONS
Tuesday, 15 October, 2002, 12:31 GMT 13:31 UK
Organ trade GP suspended
Dr Jarnail Singh
Dr Singh denied the charges
A Coventry GP has been found guilty of encouraging a man he had never met to take part in the trade in human organs from live donors.

Dr Jarnail Singh had denied charges that he had encouraged or participated in the practice, which is banned in the UK.

However, the General Medical Council's professional conduct commitee found him guilty of serious professional misconduct.


Your behaviour was unprofessional and irresponsible

Rodney Dickson, GMC

It said Dr Singh had acted in a way which was not in the best interests of a proposed patient.

But it decided he did not participate in the illegal trade of human organs and had not agreed to act as a facilitator for the father of one of two undercover journalists he had met at his surgery in Coventry.

Suspended

The GMC suspended Dr Singh's registration for six months and ordered that he must attend an education training programme.

Committee chairman Rodney Dickson told the GP: "Your behaviour as described demonstrated encouragement of the trade in human organs from live donors.

"Furthermore, your behaviour was unprofessional and irresponsible."

He added: "We find this to be a serious incident of misconduct on your behalf and have already discounted a reprimand and conditions.

"The committee have therefore directed the registrar to suspend your registration for a period of six months."

The GMC hearing was told on Monday that Dr Singh agreed in principle to help out two undercover journalists, who approached him for advice about how to arrange a live donor transplant.

It was alleged that he told the men - who were working for the Sunday Times - that he had helped others in a similar situation.

The journalists approached Dr Singh after being told that he had arranged for one of his own patients, Darshan Singh, to go to India for a similar procedure.

Mr Singh, 69, travelled to the sub-contintent for surgery, but died after contracting an infection.

The GMC hearing was told how the journalists, Paul Samrai and Neville Thurlbeck, told Dr Singh that Mr Thurlbeck's father was dying and needed a kidney transplant.

It was alleged that Dr Singh discussed the possibility of going abroad for a live donor transplant with the men, took them through how it would cost, the advantages of having the surgery in England if possible and how they could avoid the authorities to do so.

However, he failed to spell out the dangers of using an organ from a non-related donor.

Many cases

The reporters claimed that he then indicated that he was aware of dozens of other cases a year and that he had acted as a facilitator in the past.

When offered 5,000 to help arrange the operation, Dr Singh refused the money but gave the pair the impression he was happy to help in whatever way he could, the committee was told.

Dr Singh told the hearing he had refused to take on Mr Thurlbeck's father as a patient, and so was in no position to "faciliate" any trip to India.

Although he knew of many cases of people who had travelled for transplants from living donors, he denied admitting to offering active assistance.

Instead, he said he had simply offered friendly advice to two men who seemed determined to seek out a live donor, regardless of whether it was legal or not.

Six weeks ago a London GP, Dr Bhagat Singh Makkar, was struck off the medical register after boasting to a reporter that he could organise a kidney transplant in the UK or abroad for a fee.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Karen Allen
"Some medics now believe its time to consider financial incentives to address the shortage of organs"

Click here to go to BBC Coventry and Warwickshire
See also:

15 Oct 02 | Health
14 Oct 02 | Health
30 Aug 02 | Health
30 Aug 02 | Health
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