Taiwan patients given organs from man with HIV

Updated: 2011-08-29 07:45

(China Daily)

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TAIPEI - Taiwan's health authorities say they are investigating a case of "critical medical negligence" that led to five patients receiving organs from an HIV-positive donor.

"The National Taiwan University Hospital is required to come up with a detailed report before the end of Tuesday," Wang Je-chau, a spokesman for the department of health, told Agence France-Presse on Sunday, referring to the hospital where four of the five transplant operations were performed on Thursday.

The department said it was the first-ever known case of recipients being exposed to the risk of contracting AIDS because of organ transplants.

Taiwan patients given organs from man with HIV

The hospital told the department of the matter on Saturday, the deputy director of the Centers for Disease Control, Shih Wen-yi, told Central News Agency.

Shih said the hospital had offered emergency anti-AIDS medication to the five organ transplant recipients.

The hospital had apologized to the patients and their families and briefed them on the situation, he said. So far as he knew, the hospital had consistently conducted HIV-testing on organ donors.

The organ transplants were performed on five different recipients in Taipei and Tainan, in Southern Taiwan, on Wednesday, one day after the donor, 37, fell into a coma after a fall.

The donor's mother, without knowing that her son was an HIV carrier, agreed to have his major organs donated.

At the same time, surgeons with National Taiwan University Hospital and National Cheng Kung University Hospital did not know before the procedures that the donor was an HIV carrier being monitored by the government.

Medical technicians performing standard blood tests found that the man was HIV-positive before his liver, lungs and kidneys were transplanted.

But the message was wrongly relayed and doctors were given the green light for the operations.

Local media said the responsible staff, if found guilty, face a jail term of up to 10 years, and the National Taiwan University Hospital may be barred from doing similar operations for a year.