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Network was negligent in failing to properly evaluate the suitability of the donor’s organs


This is a medical malpractice action. The plaintiffs are seeking damages, personal and derivative, for injuries that were allegedly sustained by the recipient plaintiff as a result of the care and treatment he received from March 30th, 2007 through May 17th, 2007. The recipient plaintiff underwent a kidney transplant in March of 2007.

The plaintiffs allege that the defendants departed from accepted medical standards in the recipient plaintiffs care and treatment. The plaintiffs further alleges that the defendant physicians that were caring for the pediatric patient who was the donor departed from accepted medical standards when they failed to diagnose cancer in the donor while he was a patient at a non-party hospital. The plaintiffs further allege that the New York Organ Donor Network was negligent in failing to properly evaluate the suitability of the donor’s organs for transplantation.

Case background

The records in the case indicated that the recipient plaintiff received a kidney transplant from the donor who had died of bacterial meningitis. The transplant was performed by one of the defendant surgeons. The donor had been treated intermittently at the non-party hospital and during his final admission to the hospital a lumbar puncture revealed no bacteria in the spinal fluid, despite symptoms that appeared to be bacterial meningitis. When the patient died, the parents requested that his organs be donated. One of the doctors accepted the left kidney of the donor for the recipient patient. Misdiagnosis was in play.

The surgery was performed and considered to be a success. Before the transplant the recipient plaintiff had been in the final stages of kidney failure and attended dialysis three times a week.

In May, an autopsy of the donor’s brain was performed and it revealed that he had died of cancer. The recipient plaintiff was notified that he had been exposed to cancer through the donated kidney and his doctor recommended that he have the kidney removed.

The recipient had the kidney removed and PET scans were performed and he showed no signs of cancer. The recipient plaintiff is currently still waiting for an organ donor.

Court Discussion and Decision

This instant action was brought before the court under tragic circumstances. It is noted that the parents of the donor willingly waived the HTPAA restrictions to provide their son’s medical records in order to help save the recipient’s life.

The court finds that all parties involved in this case acted responsibly when it came to notifying the plaintiff as soon as it was known that the donor had cancer.

The court does not find that the defendants deviated from proper and standard medical care. It was not possible to foresee that the donor could have had cancer. For this reason, the court is dismissing the complaint.

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