Chicago transplant patients contracted HIV
Four Chicago transplant patients contracted HIV and the hepatitis C virus from an organ donor, the Chicago Tribune reported Tuesday. http://www.startribune.com/1244/story/1548922.html
Health officials said the organ donor tested negative for both diseases, but apparently the donor was infected too recently that blood tests did not detect the infection.
If the test is done within 22 days of infection, antibodies may not be detected, therefore results may be inaccurate. Doctors said that this may have been the case with the donor.
There is another test that can pick up viral infections earlier, but this test was not used for this donor. http://www.startribune.com/1244/story/1548922.html
The cause of death and nature of the risk of being infected with HIV was not disclosed of the organ donor, officials said.
The case is being investigated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Depending on circumstances, transplant surgeons generally decide what information is given to patients and their families, University of Pennsylvania medical ethicist Art Caplan said. http://www.startribune.com/1244/story/1548922.html
"Every patient in need of an organ has a significant medical condition that in most circumstances limits life expectancy," said Alison Smith, Gift of Hope vice president for operations. "The question becomes what degree of risk is appropriate in that situation."http://www.upi.com/NewsTrack/Science/2007/11/13/patients_receive_hiv-infected_transplants/1626/
The Startribune reported, "Not every aspect of a potential donor's life is fair game, but patients have a right to know 'if a donor dropped dead in a bathhouse with a needle in his arm,' Caplan said." http://www.startribune.com/1244/story/1548922.html
"It's not clear how much the four patients were told about the donor. But University of Minnesota ethicist Jeffrey Kahn said it underscores the importance of the consent process "and an individual's right to decide what's right for them." http://www.startribune.com/1244/story/1548922.html