Illinois: Suit Filed Over Transplant
November 18, 2008
On Monday, a woman filed suit against the University of Chicago Medical Center (UCMC) and one of its surgeons, saying she contracted HIV and hepatitis C after receiving a transplanted kidney from an infected donor.
The patient alleges the hospital was medically negligent for failing to notify her that the donor engaged in high-risk homosexual behavior. Had she known of the "true nature of the donor's lifestyle and the risks associated with receiving his kidney," she would not have consented to the transplant, the lawsuit states.
Four transplant recipients contracted HIV from the donor, whose infection went undetected in what hospital officials say is the first documented case of HIV being transmitted by organ donation in the United States in more than two decades.
The woman, now 33, was on dialysis for a non-life-threatening condition when a UCMC transplant coordinator notified her of an available kidney, according to the suit. The kidney was transplanted on Jan. 9, 2007. On Nov. 1 of that year, the woman was asked to return to the hospital for testing following an HIV diagnosis in one of the other recipients of an organ from the same donor.
The suit also faults UCMC for failing to test the woman for HIV three months after the transplant, as recommended by CDC in the case of high-risk donors.
The donor had not tested positive for either blood-borne disease, probably because he had been infected too recently for it to register on the screening tests used. UCMC was one of three area hospitals that transplanted organs from the donor, who died in an automobile accident.
The woman's body rejected the kidney in July. She is now back on dialysis, awaiting another transplant.
11.18.2008; Deborah L. Shelton
This article was provided by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update. Visit the CDC's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.