Malpractice Suit Filed After Hospital Transplants Cancerous Lungs to New Patient

As reported in the Philadelphia Inquirer last month, an ongoing case in federal court in Newark, New Jersey highlights the hidden dangers of organ transplants in the United States, a little known and/or reported danger, but one that is reported in the medical literature. In 2005, Tony Grier, 43, was dying from a rare lung disease when he received two donor lungs from a 31 year old woman who died in a car accident. Grier died six months later after it was discovered that the transplanted lungs had lung cancer. Lawyers for Mr. Grier's estate contend the hospital should have known the lungs were cancerous because the donor had smoked for 16 years. Defendants in the suit are the University of Pennsylvania Health System, the hospital and surgeons who performed the transplant and evaluated the lungs, and Lancaster General Hospital, where they were harvested. The suit alleges that the defendants failed to perform necessary tests that would have detected cancer, and also failed to find it after the transplant. According to the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), a national nonprofit that was established by Congress in 1984 to administer the nation's transplantation network, lung cancer in a transplanted organ is very rare. Data from the UNOS shows that cancer, of any kind, was transmitted to 47 organ recipients between 1994 and 2006. Lung transplant recipients accounted for eight of those cases.   In short, despite all of the efforts being made by  health care providers to secure a safe organ for transplantation, transmission of malignancy in a donor organ and/or other diseases, can happen.  As a result, donor registries continue to seek to improve their abilities to obtain accurate medical information from donor patients while the organ donee facilities simultaneously seek more accessibility to personal data and information regarding the donating parties so as to avoid this possibility. 

If you or a loved one believe you have been the victim of hospital negligence in the course of an organ transplant or any other types of similar procedures including blood transfusions (red blood cells, platelets, etc), contact the lawyers at STSW for a free consultation at 410 385-2225 or visit our website to set up your free consultation.  Our lawyers routinely appear in the state and federal courts in the Baltimore and Washington D.C. areas, as well as other courts throughout Maryland.  We typically are involved in litigation against area hospitals including but not limited to:  Johns Hopkins Hospital, University of Maryland Medical Center, St. Agnes Hospital, St. Joseph Hospital, Union Memorial Hospital, Harbor Hospital, Bon Secours Hospital, Sibley Memorial Hospital, Frederick Memorial Hospital, Upper Chesapeake Hospital, Howard County General Hospital, Sinai Hospital, Anne Arundel Medical Center, Baltimore Washington Medical Center, and Washington Hospital Center.     Our attorneys generally pursue such medical malpractice cases on a contingency basis, meaning that our office lays out the funds for the case in advance and our clients are only responsible for repaying those expenses upon the successful resolution of a case, whether it be via settlement, trial or appeal.