PETALING JAYA - A private hospital which used to perform transplant surgeries proved that it is possible to do so at a reasonable cost of RM80,000 (S$27,000) and with good survival rates of the transplanted organ.
"The work done at that private hospital put public hospitals to shame.
"Unfortunately, a patient died in one case," said a source in a public hospital.
He said a death in a public hospital is followed by an internal inquiry and the measures taken are "not punitive".
However, in the case of the death in the private hospital in 2012, he said it was "blown out of proportion, followed by a stop in private hospital transplantations".
He said the Health Ministry directive effectively "ignores the work done thus far by private hospitals, affects the country's transplant programme and has made the rakyat the worse off for it".
The source claimed that attitudes, personalities and petty differences got in the way, that "everybody wants to rule their turf" and so new rules were introduced.
"Private hospitals only do living related transplants. People go to them because they don't want the long wait at the public hospitals," he said, adding that transplants are "not a priority" in public hospitals because there is the option of dialysis.
He noted, however, that the teamwork and post-transplant care which is integral to transplantations puts off most private hospitals.
"The money is little and the workload is huge. It takes the life out of you," the source said.
It is understood that no private hospital has obtained credentials from the ministry to do transplant surgeries, since the new requirements were imposed.
According to Universiti Malaya Faculty of Medicine head of urology Prof Dr Azad Hassan Abdul Razack: "It is better for patients to go to a private hospital here than to go to China or India (to buy a kidney)".
"Some come back with complications which we then have to deal with, and some run out of money and the hospital there cannot treat them".
There are more than 5,000 new kidney patients annually with 31,637 dialysis patients in 2013, according to the 21st Report of The Malaysian Dialysis & Transplant Registry 2013. A total 19,541 are on the kidney transplant waiting list.