Italian doctors transplant HIV-infected organs
Italian doctors mistakenly transplanted organs from an HIV-positive donor into three recipients, the head of a Florence hospital said on Tuesday.
Doctors at Careggi hospital told reporters that an infected woman’s liver and kidneys were transplanted after a laboratory biologist incorrectly wrote on her medical records that she had tested negative for HIV.
“This was a tragic human error,” said Careggi’s chief Edoardo Majno.
Doctors said the 41-year old woman, who died of a brain hemorrhage, was probably unaware that she was HIV-positive and that her relatives had agreed to donate the organs.
The likelihood that the three recipients would now become infected with HIV/AIDS was very high, Majno said.
“Fuelling an alarmist reaction after this case of human error, which luckily is extremely rare, could have negative consequences for many people who are on a waiting list for a transplant,” said Franco Filipponi, director of transplants for Florence’s Tuscany region.
Media reports of widespread “malasanita”—malpractice, poor hygiene and low safety standards in Italy’s national health system—prompted a nationwide police inspection of the country’s public hospitals last month.
The inspections highlighted serious violations at one in six hospitals, such as rat droppings on the premises and expired medicine stocks.
Hardly a week goes by without new media reports of “malasanita”.
In a case that shocked Italy a month ago, a 16-year old girl died having her appendix removed when the power failed in the operating theater and her ventilator was not plugged into a generator.
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