Hospital blunder: five patients receive HIV-infected organs

We just read a story about a an egregious hospital error. A Taiwan hospital transplanted five organs including a heart, liver, lungs and two kidneys from an HIV-infected donor into five recipients. Now, the recipients are all being treated with AIDS drugs.

In all likelihood, the recipients will contract HIV and their health will be impacted as they have to take both AIDS drugs as well as anti-rejection drugs for their new organs, two treatments that are opposite of each other.

The hospital error occurred because a hospital staff member mistakenly thought he heard that the HIV test on the donor was “non-reactive.” Unfortunately, he misheard or the person on the other end of the telephone misstated that the HIV test was positive or “reactive.”

The donor was hospitalized after a fall and his family was unaware of his HIV status.

A Taiwanese health department official described the error as “appalling negligence.”

It seems like the hospital was very negligence in not double checking the results of the HIV test and checking an electronic or printed result. At least, they need to change their terminology as it seems like without an established change in protocol, this error could happen again. The hospital may have also been negligent in not conducting a detailed health history of the donor.

This information is provided by Washington Injury Attorney blog, a service of The Farber Law Group. We represent people who have been seriously injured by medical malpractice and the family of those who have died.

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