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Hospital Liable for Medical Malpractice After Organ Transplant Infects Recipient with Hepatitis C

The American Association of Tissue Banks estimates that, each year, more than one million organ and tissue transplants take place in the United States. Organ transplantation is an area of medicine in which an organ is moved from one body to another for the purpose of replacing an individual’s damaged, infected, or missing organ.

Organ transplants are some of the most difficult exercises in modern medicine. Nevertheless, as any Chicago personal injury attorney is aware, there are a number of safeguards that have been implemented to prevent against transplant failure and other complications that arise from the surgery. Some of the standards that protect patients include measures for screening and testing donors prior to implanting the organ in the recipient’s body.

When doctors violate either the generally accepted standards in the medical community and a patient is harmed as a result, the healthcare professionals may be held legally responsible, and an Illinois medical malpractice lawsuit may arise.

According to an article published by MSNBC, a couple is now suing a prominent medical center after doctors transplanted the woman’s kidney into her boyfriend’s body, despite the fact that tests showed that she was infected with Hepatitis C, a potentially life-threatening liver disease.

Although the transplant itself – in terms of the surgical and operational aspects – went well, the man is now infected with the very serious infectious disease.

The lawsuit alleges negligence on the part of the hospital, four doctors, a nurse, and the entire staff of the hospital’s kidney transplant center. In Illinois personal injury lawsuits, when a physician or other healthcare provider has committed medical malpractice, the hospital or healthcare institution may also be held liable for failing to properly train their employees or for failing to hire professionals who are qualified to do the work.

As per MSNBC‘s report the negligence claims allege that the transplant team missed a crucial blood test results that showed that the girlfriend was infected with the virus, and then failed to note the positive result at several points before the transplant. Additionally, despite the fact that a number of tests prior to the surgery confirmed the woman’s Hepatitis C, hospital staff did not inform her of the positive results until a month after the operation.

At that point doctors apparently accused the woman of illegal drug use, and infidelity to her partner of 21 years, both of which the woman denied. Instead the woman said that she likely contracted the disease as part of her past employment as a licensed practical nurse at nursing homes where she was exposed to blood from patients.

At this point, The Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network and the United Network for Organ Sharing have placed the hospital’s transplant program on probation for up to a year, and increased the numbers of precautionary layers to ensure that recipients don’t get diseases from organ donors.

MSNBC reported that from 2007 to 2010, the Centers for Disease Control investigated more than 200 cases of suspected unexpected transmission of HIV, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C through transplants. These kinds of potentially deadly kinds of medical malpractice are devastating examples of situations in which doctors violate their duty to their patients, as well as their patients’ trust.

Unfortunately these situations are all too common. If you or a loved one have been harmed by a healthcare provider, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries.