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Boston Medical Malpractice?: Hepatitis C Contracted by Child During Transplant Was Totally Preventable, Says CDC

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a child who underwent a blood vessel transplant at Children’s Hospital in Boston contracted hepatitis C because the donor was infected. The disease was transmitted because of a testing error that occurred at a tissue bank, as well as delays in communication between public health officials and the transplant center. Two other people, who received kidney transplants from the same donor, also became infected. It hasn’t been reported at this time whether the child’s family will be filing a Boston medical malpractice claim.

The CDC’s Office of Blood, Organ, and Other Tissue Safety director Dr. Matthew J. Kuehnert says the infections were “preventable.” He is calling for better testing and a system more quickly able to notify transplant surgeons when there are problems, while tracking organs and tissues. Currently, e-mails, phone calls, and letters are how communication regarding such matters takes place.

As a result, 11 days passed between when one kidney recipient tested positive for hepatitis C and when the CDC was notified. It was during this period that the child at the Boston hospital received a transplant of an infected piece of tissue to fix a heart malformation.

Per the CDC’s report, a worker at the tissue bank made a mistake and marked the donor’s tissue as negative for hepatitis C even though the test results were positive.

Boston Medical Malpractice
As with any surgical procedure, there are risks involved with organ transplants and it is important that the medical team involved have the proper procedures in place, which they should implement, to prevent mistakes that could cause serious injuries and infection. For example, it is crucial that transplant recipients are given healthy organs free from disease or health issues to maximize the chances of a successful outcome. Other common Massachusetts surgical transplant errors include giving a patient an organ that his/her body is not compatible with, performing a transplant procedure without the donor’s consent, and post-operative mistakes.

Hepatitis C This viral disease is a chronic illness that can cause cancer or liver scarring. Infected patients may eventually have to undergo a liver transplant.

Child infected with hepatitis C through transplant at Children’s Hospital Boston, Boston, December 22, 2011
Child Infected With Hepatitis C After Boston Hospital Transplant, WBUR.org, December 22, 2011
Hepatitis C, PubMed Health

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Our Boston injury lawyers represent children and adults with Massachusetts medical malpractice claims.