Taiwan prosecutors probe HIV organ transplants

(AP) -- Physicians at a hospital in Taiwan that mistakenly transplanted four patients with HIV-infected organs may face criminal prosecution, an official said Friday.

The doctors involved may face up to 10 years in prison if found to have caused patients to contract the by negligence, Taipei Prosecutors' Office spokesman Lin Wen-teh said.

Last week, Taipei's National Taiwan University Hospital performed the transplants of the liver, lungs and two kidneys from a donor it mistakenly believed was HIV negative. Another facility, National Chengkung University Hospital, transplanted the heart into a patient there based on NTUH's information.

NTUH, one of Taiwan's best medical institutions, said a staffer misheard the donor's test results as "non-reactive" when the English word "reactive" was actually given, meaning the donor had HIV. The information was given by telephone, and the hospital admitted the donor's was not double-checked as standard procedure required.

The head of the university hospital's transplant department, Ke Wen-che, resigned Thursday to take responsibility for the blunder. He said he was responsible for the transplant program in its entirety, and declined to blame either the staffer who mishandled the HIV information, or other physicians directly involved in the transplant procedures.

Meanwhile, the Health Department is also looking into the mistake.

But department official Shih Chung-liang says it would be improper to put all the blame on the staffer who mishandled the HIV test results.

Still, he said, if negligence is found to have caused the blunder, NTUH may have to suspend its programs for up to a year in addition to paying unspecified fines.

NTUH has not disclosed if the have tested positive for HIV. But say it's likely they will be infected and it will complicate their treatment.

not rated yet
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Taiwan probing HIV organ transplant

Aug 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.

Kidneys transplanted between HIV-infected patients

Jun 17, 2010

(AP) -- South African surgeons have transplanted kidneys between donors and patients who were both infected with the AIDS virus - a medical first that has some U.S. doctors buzzing about whether it could be tried here.

Transplant patient got AIDS from new kidney

Mar 17, 2011

(AP) -- A transplant patient contracted AIDS from the kidney of a living donor, in the first documented case of its kind in the U.S. since screening for HIV began in the mid-1980s.

Could HIV-infected organs save lives?

Mar 30, 2011

If Congress reversed its ban on allowing people with HIV to be organ donors after their death, roughly 500 HIV-positive patients with kidney or liver failure each year could get transplants within months, rather than the ...

Recommended for you

Study models ways to cut Mexico's HIV rates

Oct 15, 2014

To address the HIV epidemic in Mexico is to address it among men who have sex with men (MSM), because they account for a large percentage of the country's new infections, says Omar Galárraga, assistant professor ...

User comments