Four Get AIDS Virus From Organ Donor

An organ donor in Chicago infected four transplant patients with the AIDS virus in what a donor group says is the first such transmission in the United States in 13 years. The transplants occurred in January at three Chicago hospitals. The patients infected with HIV and the virus for hepatitis C did not learn of their status until the last two weeks, according to medical officials. Michael Millis, chief of the transplantation program at the University of Chicago Hospitals, said his staff was told of the problem on November 1 and brought in the two patients who had transplants there for testing the next morning.

BY admin

November 14 2007 12:00 AM ET

An organ donor in
Chicago has inadvertently infected four transplant
patients with the AIDS virus in what a donor group says is
the first such transmission in the United States in 13
years.

The transplants
occurred in January at three Chicago hospitals. The
patients infected with HIV and the virus for hepatitis C did
not learn of their status until the last two weeks,
according to medical officials.

Michael Millis,
chief of the transplantation program at the University of
Chicago Hospitals, said his staff was told of the problem on
November 1 and brought in the two patients who had
transplants there for testing the next morning.

''It was very
surprising and devastating for them, I'll be honest, just
as it would be for any of us,'' Millis said.

Tests on the
donor for HIV, hepatitis, and other conditions came back
negative, most likely because the donor had acquired the
infections in the last three weeks before death.
Personal details about the donor were not released by
medical official officials, who cited privacy laws.

Based on the
negative test results, doctors at Northwestern Memorial
Hospital, Rush University Medical Center, and the University
of Chicago Medical Center went ahead with the
transplants.

The right
procedures were followed in testing the donor, said Alison
Smith, vice president for operations at Gift of Hope.

Joel Newman, a
spokesman for the United Network for Organ Sharing, said
the last known example of HIV being transmitted from a donor
to a recipient was in 1994.

Millis said he
thinks the process can be improved but may never be
completely failproof.

''The organ
supply is extraordinarily safe, but this has demonstrated
that it's not 100% safe and it is never going to be 100%
safe, at least with technology we have today,'' Millis
said. (AP)

Tags: Health

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