Taiwan probing HIV organ transplant

August 28, 2011

Taiwan's health authorities said Sunday 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 AFP, referring to the hospital where four of the five transplant operations were performed on Thursday.

The family of a 38-year-old man, surnamed Chiu, decided to donate his organs after he fell to his death in northern Hsinchu city last week.

Medical technicians performing standard blood tests found that Chiu was 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.

Chiu's family said they were not aware that he was an HIV carrier.

Doctors at the two hospitals have prescribed preventive medicines for the five recipients.

Local media said the responsible staff, if found guilty, may 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.

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