Woman Given Cancerous Organ in Surgical Error

On behalf of Brown & Crouppen, P.C. posted in Medical Malpractice on Thursday, July 12, 2012

Receiving a new organ in a transplant procedure can be a life-saving procedure for many in St. Louis, but patients must rely on doctors’ and nurses’ expertise and attention to detail to minimize the risk that the transplant causes more harm than good. For one woman from another state, medical errors during the process caused her to develop a particularly deadly form of cancer.

The woman, now 39, underwent a pancreas transplant in the summer of 2008. While the medical reason why she needed the procedure has been kept confidential, the most common reason for receiving a new pancreas is severe diabetes.

Whatever the woman’s medical condition before the surgery, she was left in much worse condition afterward: the pancreas was cancerous, causing her to develop cancer. She has filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the surgeon who performed the transplant, as well as the hospital where it occurred and the Gift of Hope Organ and Tissue Donor Network.

Cancer-causing organ donations are very rare, with just 21 cases reported out of more than 108,000 transplants over a seven-year period, according to a 2002 study. Medical staff is typically required to screen donors for communicable diseases and consult next of kin about the donor’s medical history to prevent potentially dangerous organs from being used. But an executive with Gift of Hope acknowledged that medical personnel often rush through the screening process.

The director of the accused hospital declined to discuss the case, but said that in general, his staff screens organ donors for diseases such as cancer, though transferring cancer from donor to recipient is “known risk of organ transplantation.”

Source: Chicago Sun-Times, “Woman files lawsuit charging transplanted organ was cancerous,” Kim Janssen, July 10, 2012

Text with a live representative
Text “GETBC” to 314-222-2222
Standard rates apply