Britain's National Health Service Blood and Transplant organization announced Saturday that it was investigating errors in its organ donor list--several thousand errors--that go back about a decade, the Star Tribune said. They reported the donor list of about 14 million poeple has been affected by technical errors since 1999, and some people may have had organs removed without proper consent as a result.
For example, some people who wanted to donate their lungs or skin were incorrectly identified as people who wanted to donate their corneas or heart, the Star Tribune said. An official at the National Health Service said everyone on the register was a willing donor of some kind. She said no data has been lost, the problem has been contained and families have not yet been contacted since the investigation is ongoing.
About 800,000 people have been affected by the mix-up, the Sunday Telegraph newspaper reported. They said 45 of those people have since died and donated organs, and just under half of those are thought to have made incorrect donations.
Every Briton is considered a non-donor unless they register as one or their family decides to donate their organs after death, the Star Tribune said. They also said the British government has been trying to increase Britain's rate of organ donation, which is one of the lowest in Europe, and has spent a lot of money on an awareness compaign.
Also, other technological mishaps have happened in the country in the past few years, the Star Tribune reported, including misplaced data on 3 million driving test candidates, 600,000 army applicants, and 5,000 prison officers. In 2007, computer disks carrying bank records and other information on nearly half of Britain's population were lost. These mix-ups and losses have raised concern over whether or not the government can handle their citizens' information.
Joyce Robins, the co-director of patient watchdog group Patient Concern, told the Star Tribune these mishaps happen too often, and even though they are being told their data is safe, it's "rubbish" because the same things keep repeating themselves.