5 patients get HIV-infected organs in hospital error

5 patients get HIV-infected organs in hospital error

The five are now being treated with anti-AIDS drugs, an official at National Taiwan University Hospital in Taipei said on Monday.

The hospital said on its website over the weekend the mistake occurred because a transplant staffer believed he heard the English word “non-reactive” on the donor’s standard HIV test, while the word “reactive” was actually given.

The information on the test result was given over the telephone and was not double-checked, as required by standard procedures.

The Health Department will decide on possible penalties for the hospital.
The donor was a 37-year-old man who fell into a coma on Aug 24 and his heart, liver, lungs and two kidneys were transplanted to five patients on the same day.

The five organ receivers will very likely contract HIV and their treatment will be complicated because they also have to take medication to avoid rejection of the new organs.

There are also concerns among the physicians and nurses who conducted the transplants that they too may contract HIV. Medical staffers take protections against bodily fluids during surgeries, but experts warned needle and other accidential cuts could still expose them to HIV.

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