Suit Filed Over Misrepresentation of Identity of Lung Donor

Article posted on:02/12/2008

As reported in the Daily Pennsylvanian, the mother of a man who died after he received the cancerous lungs of a smoker during a transplant has filed a medical malpractice / medical negligence / wrongful death lawsuit against the Pennsylvania hospital that performed the procedure. In the lawsuit, Emma Grier claims that doctors at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania knowingly misrepresented the identity of the lung donor; i.e., they knew that the lung donor was a smoker who had been diagnosed with lung cancer prior to his death. The complaint also names the doctor who determined the lungs to be suitable for transplant and the organ donation program that provided the lungs. At its core, the allegations seemingly suggested that the defendants were received benefits for the lung transplant procedure and therefore there were certain motivations for ensuring that the procedure went forward despite the revelation of the cancerous lung.

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, Northwest Hospital, Harford 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 and our attorneys' fees upon the successful resolution of a case, whether it be via settlement, trial or on appeal.