Fears for patients in HIV donor scandal

Updated: 2011-08-30 17:33

By Yan Weijue (chinadaily.com.cn)

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One of five patients who mistakenly received transplanted organs from a HIV-positive donor may have contracted the disease, cnr.cn reported Tuesday citing medics.

The female patient, who underwent heart transplant surgery, is among five patients who received organs from one infected donor in Taiwan's first ever AIDS organ transplant scandal at the National Taiwan University Hospital and Cheng Kung University Hospital.

The woman is currently recovering in intensive care unaware of the error. The plight of the four other patients remains unknown. It is believed at least one patient has been informed of the mistake and collapsed upon hearing the news.

On Tuesday the Taipei Prosecutors Office assigned a prosecutor with a medical background to investigate the case.

Medics face three to ten years in jail if it is proven the patients contracted HIV because of the flawed transplant which was exposed on August 27.

The family of the donor decided to offer his organs after he was pronounced brain dead following a fall from a ladder at work. They were not aware he had AIDS.

The National Taiwan University hospital removed his heart, liver, lung and two kidneys and performed four organ transplant surgeries, the heart, the fifth, was sent to the Cheng Kung University Hospital.

The National Taiwan University Hospital said it tested the donor's blood and found him HIV positive before the surgery, but the message was wrongly received by the lab members in both hospitals.