The daughter of a Spanish female doctor who travelled to India and stayed five nights before she had a massive stroke and her organs were donated to others still had to pay a massive medical bill before she could get her mother’s remains back.
The shocking incident happened when the mother, identified only by her first name Teresa, went to India to stay with friends.
A few days into the trip, she suffered a massive stroke and ended up on a life-support machine.
Her daughter, Aitana, who is also a doctor, said even before she flew that they had shown her the scans and she had already realised there was no hope as her mum was clearly brain-dead.
She then offered to allow the woman’s organs to be donated, which caused surprise among the doctors because of strict local religious beliefs that meant that they could not usually even ask families of potential donors for permission.
The move was also a way to allow her mother to move on because due to Hindu laws, euthanasia is not allowed, and as a result, the only way that she could be disconnected was by becoming an organ donor.
Organ donation is not common in India, compared to Spain, where the woman was from, where organ donation is a routine practice.
Last year alone there were 2,196 donors in Spain, with a rate of 46.3 donors per million inhabitants, whereas in India, there were only 552 donors in 2021, with a rate of 0.4 donors per million inhabitants. Teresa’s organs went to four Indians, including a 54-year-old doctor who received her liver, and a Lebanese patient, who received her heart.
Teresa worked at the Hospital Universitario Torrecardenas in Almeria, Spain, and she had studied at the Complutense University of Madrid.
Her daughter said that the medical team treating her mother had been very careful about complaining about the fact that as well as losing her mother, she was also hit with the double stress of having to pay for the treatment.
She said: “Once I arrived they wanted me to pay the bill. Until they had the money in the account, they wouldn’t even give my mother’s body back.”