The common proverb “blood is thicker than water” usually implies that family relationships and loyalties are the strongest and most important. For Marshneil Sinha and Diti Lahiri, however, this adage doesn’t necessarily hold true. Their story which culminated in a kidney transplant at the Fortis Hospital & Kidney Institute in Kolkata is one of sacrifice, and most importantly, humanity.
Afflicted by a life-threatening kidney condition for the last five years, Sinha, an IT professional, was desperately in need of a transplant. However, no donor was forthcoming until 40-year-old Lahiri, her senior colleague at work, decided to step up and donate her kidney, reports Times of India.
Lahiri had first heard of Sinha’s condition—shrinking kidneys that required dialysis and eventual replacement—when she was working as a project coordinator at ITC Infotech in Bengaluru.
While Sinha continued to battle her condition and work at the same time, things only got worse. Too unwell to continue work at the office, Sinha moved back home to Bokaro, Jharkhand, where she would continue working from home—a decision backed by the firm. Subsequently, Lahiri found out that Sinha was running out of time, and wouldn’t survive if she did not receive a transplant.
Usually, in such cases, family members step forward. Sinha had no luck there as her parents are suffering from health issues of their own. Her sister couldn’t donate her kidney since she was getting married and the family did not permit it.
In many states, non-relatives aren’t allowed to donate their kidneys since there are fears that such transactions could involve organ trafficking or other sorts of foul play. Fortunately for Lahiri, who is a resident of Kolkata, West Bengal is the only state where such donations are permitted.
Sinha’s family desperately cried out for help across social and traditional media forums but found no luck at all. Following her junior colleague’s case closely, Lahiri sent Sinha’s medical records to Dr Shibaji Basu, a urologist and a long-time family friend for his assessment. The doctor was also of the opinion that Sinha needed a transplant and quickly.
“I had made up my mind to donate one of my kidneys because my mother has been living a healthy life on one kidney for years now. She is more active than most of us. I am single and that perhaps made it easier for me. My parents were surprised initially but finally got around supporting my decision,” Lahiri told the Times of India.
Both Lahiri and her mother Monideepa, a retired school teacher, had to undergo a nine-month-long vetting process including the filing of an affidavit at the Alipur police court, hearing before a first-class magistrate, submission of documents to the Kolkata collector’s office, an interview with the Kolkata Municipal Corporation, police verification, and filling up forms at the Swasthya Bhavan, stating that she is indeed donating her kidney out of generosity and not for monetary reasons.
After Lahiri received a no-objection certificate, and Sinha completed a similar administrative process in her home state of Jharkhand, they received the all clear to conduct the transplant on September 3 under the careful hands of Dr Shibaji Basu.
Both Lahiri and Sinha are fine after the operation, reports the Times of India.
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)