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Woman sues for negligence when donated organ causes cancer

When we think of organ donation, we generally think of all the Maryland lives that are saved by such a selfless act. However, not all recipients of donor organs go on to lead healthy, normal lives. In some cases, despite the donor's best intentions, the donor organ may be unusable due to existing disease or other medical conditions. It is up to physicians and other medical professionals to thoroughly test donor organs before transplanting them. This hospital negligence can cause a number of long-term health complications in the recipient.

One woman sued her local hospital after the pancreas she received was cancerous. The woman underwent a kidney and pancreas transplant in June of 2016. A few months later, the donated organs were removed once test results showed that the woman's new pancreas was cancerous. The woman reportedly was diagnosed with cancer and has experienced increased diabetic symptoms and has had to then have surgery to remove a fallopian tube and ovary, as well as her lymph nodes and bowel.

The woman filed a lawsuit against the hospital, as well as two organ donation organizations, claiming negligence, strict liability and breach of warranty. The woman asserted that the hospital and donor organizations failed to ensure that the organs were safe before performing the transplant. She also alleged that they failed to remove the organs in a timely fashion, despite the fact that two other people who passed away from cancer also underwent transplants from the same donor.

If a diseased organ is transplanted into a patient, there is a good chance that someone acted negligently by not properly testing the organs. Patients who are victims of medical malpractice may file a lawsuit against the hospital, donor organization, physicians and any other parties liable for the harm they experienced as a result of the transplant.

Source: Newsweek, "Medical Nightmare: Woman Contracted Pancreatic Cancer From Transplanted Organ, Lawsuit Claims," Melissa Matthews, Dec. 9, 2017

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