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'Cash for kidneys' GP is suspended.

Byline: KAREN HAMBRIDGE

A COVENTRY doctor was today starting a six-month suspension for encouraging the trade in live human organs.

Dr Jarnail Singh, who practises at the Hillfields Health Centre, was found guilty of serious professional misconduct by a committee of the General Medical Council yesterday.

The committee decided he had encouraged a dying man he had never met to have a kidney transplant from a live donor.

Dr Singh, aged 49, who lives in Granby Road, Nuneaton, was suspended after he was found to have acted in an unprofessional and irresponsible manner that was not in the best interests of a proposed patient.

The GMC had heard how Dr Singh was secretly recorded discussing the possibility of having a kidney transplant from a live donor on the Indian sub-continent.

During a conversation with two undercover journalists at his surgery Dr Singh failed to discuss the dangers of non-gene related organ transplants and discussed the level of payment that might be required to buy an organ on the black market.

The GMC's professional conduct committee decided that his behaviour had amounted to serious professional misconduct.

The committee had been told how Dr Singh agreed to meet the journalists under the belief that one was the son of a man dying from kidney failure. The doctor discussed how they might go about buying an organ from a living donor.

He did not discuss the dangers of such surgery, but agreed to forward the patient's medical records to India.

The committee found that he stopped short of facilitating any such operation and when offered pounds 5,000 to do so, he had refused the money.

Committee chairman Rodney Dickson said Dr Singh's behaviour had been "unprofessional and irresponsible".

He said: "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."

In mitigation, Singh's counsel David Morris said: ''Dr Singh knew that it was illegal and unethical and he has apologised. Dr Singh is a very caring man. He cared not wisely but too well for his patient.''

Dr Singh will have to undergo an educational programme in medical ethics to resume practising.

Singh was cleared of facilitating the trade of organs from living donors but admitted discussing and encouraging it.

CAPTION(S):

UNPROFESSIONAL: Coventry doctor Jarnail Singh admitted encouraging the trade in human organs
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Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Oct 16, 2002
Words:410
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