Man receives infected kidney during organ transplant

The process to undergo surgery to remove and transplant an organ is lengthy and complex. Many Chicago patients have waited months before surgery could take place. Doctors first have to determine whether or not an individual is a good candidate for surgery, and then the individual must wait for a compatible organ.

With thousands of people needing kidneys each year, one woman was happy to discover that her kidney was a good match for her boyfriend who suffered from Type I diabetes and a kidney disease. Although the transplant went well and both individuals recovered, the couple later discovered that doctors had made a serious mistake. Tests taken months before the surgery indicated that the woman was infected with hepatitis C.

Last week, the couple filed two medical malpractice lawsuits against a prominent hospital in Pennsylvania and several other doctors and nurses involved in the incident. According to the lawsuits, blood tests were taken months before the surgery and had shown that the woman was infected with hepatitis C. However, medical professionals failed to note the blood test results which would have indicated that the woman was no longer a compatible donor. Instead, one transplant surgeon noted that the woman was “an excellent candidate for kidney donation,” and the surgery was carried out on April 6.

A month after the transplant, doctors informed the woman that she had hepatitis C and that her boyfriend’s new kidney was infected. Instead of being able to find comfort in knowing that the man’s life was saved by the kidney transplant, the man is now at risk of a potentially fatal liver disease.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 200 cases of organ transplants during 2007 and 2010 may have mistakenly involved the transmission of HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C. The CDC recognizes this as a serious issue that has affected many and is requesting that doctors and hospitals follow guidelines to thoroughly screen and test possible organ donors.

Source: msnbc.com, “Couple sues hospital after he gets her infected kidney,” JoNel Aleccia, Sept. 21, 2011


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