Officials Re-examining Organ Transplant Rules


Officials Re-examining Organ Transplant Rules

By DENISE GRADY in the nyTimes Published: December 27, 2009

When I got ME/CFS I stopped giving blood and cancelled being an organ donor.

When xmrv came on the stage, I immediately thought of the blood supply safety, but had forgotten organ donations. I hope others haven't.

The plight of two kidney transplant patients who contracted a brain infection from an organ donor is prompting health officials to re-examine their policies on using people with certain neurological conditions as donors.

The organ donor, a child at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, had had seizures and a brain disorder initially thought to be an autoimmune disease and not transmissible. The real cause of his illness turned out to be a rare, usually fatal infection, but the mistake in diagnosis was not recognized until the transplants were done and the two recipients had become critically ill. The medical center disclosed the situation on Dec. 18.

The case highlights the lack of a national policy on whether to bar people with poorly defined neurological disorders as donors. For now, the decision is up to individual transplant centers, said Dr. Michael G. Ison, chairman of an advisory committee on infectious disease transmission for the United Network for Organ Sharing, which coordinates transplants in the United States.