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article imageHIV-infected organs transplanted to 5 patients in Taiwan

By Lynn Curwin     Aug 29, 2011 in Health
Taipei - Five people are now being treated with anti-AIDS drugs after a hospital mistake resulted in them receiving organs from an HIV-infected man in Taiwan.
After Chiu, a 37-year-old man, died from a fall his heart, liver, lungs and kidneys were transplanted to five patients.
The Globe and Mail reported that National Taiwan University Hospital in Taipei said the mistake occurred because a staff member thought he heard the word “non-reactive” which means negative, when the word “reactive” was actually given. Information on the test result was given over the telephone and was not double-checked.
Chiu's mother said she had not been aware her son was HIV-positive.
The hospital’s vice superintendent, Chang Shan-chwen, said he believes there is a 90 per cent likelihood that the organ recipients will contract HIV.
There are also concerns about contracting HIV among the physicians and nurses who took part in the surgery.
Wang Je-chau, a spokesman for the Department of Health, told AFP that "The National Taiwan University Hospital is required to come up with a detailed report before the end of Tuesday."
The hospital is still allowed to continue performing organ transplants for the time being, but may be suspended from doing so and fined in the future.
“Not until National Taiwan University Hospital explains how the mistake occurred will the department decide on the kind of punishment to be imposed,” the Taipei Times quoted Bureau of Medical Affairs Director Shih Chung-liang as saying.
If transplants are suspended at the facility 1,800 people awaiting organs will be transferred to other medical institutions.
More about HIV, Organs, Taiwan, Transplant
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