Cruel twist of fate
I would call it an irony of fate. A kind-hearted lady once donated one of her kidneys to save a young man's life. Today, she needs a kidney herself, but has been unable to arrange for one.
Some 16 years ago Shibani could not bear her neighbour Karmakar's agony. He desperately required a kidney transplant, but for the conservative people of the region where they lived, donation of a human organ was an alien concept and, therefore, a dreaded thought.
Defying society, Shibani announced her decision to donate her kidney. The news spread like wildfire. In fact, it turned out that Shibani was the first kidney donor in the region in those days.
In those days, hospitals in that area lacked the requisite infrastructure and specialist surgeons to conduct such an operation. Despite such odds, an operation was carried out and Karmakar got one of Shibani's kidneys.
This happy development invigorated the government hospital's ill-equipped renal unit that had been lying dormant for quite some time. It was a blessing in disguise as its refurbishment benefited scores of patients in the years to come.
Karmakar was a happy man when he left the hospital. He had been given a new lease of life. Shibani was not that lucky. She developed complications two months after the transplant. Some attributed it to inexperienced hands that performed the surgery.
On the other hand, as luck would have it, poor Karmakar's joy proved to be short lived. He died in a year's time.
Shibani managed to survive with her a single kidney for some years. But one day she discovered that her renal system was malfunctioning and that she now needed a kidney herself!
It was ironic that a donor was seeking a donor herself! In addition to a kidney, she required around Rs100,000 (Dh7,850) for the surgery. Shibani did not have that kind of money.
In her hour of need, Shibani thought about how happy she was when the state's chief minister visited her in hospital on the day she donated her kidney. She saw it as an acknowledgement of her noble gesture. After all, it was big news in the region.
The dignitary had assured Shibani that the government would take care of all her medical expenses.
But as it happens, the politician soon forgot his promise. Shibani has since been knocking on all the possible doors in the government, but all her appeals for help in her hour of distress have fallen on deaf ears. Officials have not even bothered replying to her letters.
The noble lady has been left in the lurch. She had donated her kidney purely on humanitarian grounds without expecting anything in return. However, even in her desperate circumstances, Shibani does not regret her decision to save someone's life.
It is tragic that today her selfless act has landed her and her family in deep trouble. Even the government hospital in Kolkata where the surgery took place has become indifferent to her plight.
Now she is battling for life. Shibani's daughter is keen to donate her kidney to save her mother, but they don't have money to pay for the transplant.
Nobody knows what is in store for this noble person. Nevertheless, the episode has shaken those with a conscience.