Wrongful Death Due to Improper Organ Transplant | August 27, 2021
Lawsuit Against Medstar Georgetown Medical Center
On August 27, 2021, WVFK&N attorney Keith Forman filed a wrongful death claim on behalf of a man who died as a result of the negligent transplant of a diseased organ.
The complaint alleges that the patient presented to MedStar Georgetown University Hospital at 54 years old in stable health with end stage renal disease. This condition was considered stable and made the patient eligible for simultaneous kidney-pancreas transplant. The patient received a simultaneous kidney-pancreas transplant on January 5, 2018. At all times during their procurement of the organs and treatment of the patient, MedStar Georgetown University Hospital knew or should have known that the donor of the kidney and pancreas was a 16-year-old with a history of astrocytoma, Grade III, which was treated with a craniotomy in February 2017. The donor ceased radiation and chemotherapy in December 2017 and died on or around January 5, 2018 with a cause of death listed as “CNS Tumor.” Nevertheless, the Defendants rated the donor’s kidney as a high-quality kidney with minimal risk factors associated with the donor organs. However, MedStar Georgetown University Hospital knew, or should have known, that while a Grade I or II astrocytoma is considered low risk for transmitting cancer from organ donor to organ recipient, a Grade III astrocytoma carries a high risk of transmitting the cancer from organ donor to organ recipient. Nonetheless, the Defendants negligently deemed the donor kidney and pancreas (from the same donor) suitable for transplant and proceeded to perform a simultaneous kidney-pancreas transplant on January 5, 2018 at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital. Records indicate that the doctors did not inform the patient that these organs came from a donor with a high-risk of donor transmitted cancer, as required by the standard of care. On or about April 27, 2018, the patient was admitted to MedStar Georgetown University Hospital following a routine transplant follow-up for gross volume overload with anasarca and decreased urine output. His chart also notes that, upon admission and during his stay, the patient was additionally diagnosed with hematuria, bilateral leg edema, hyperkalemia, fever, and sepsis. This admission resulted in an exploratory surgery on or about May 5, 2018 which revealed diffuse peritoneal carcinomatosis on the abdominal wall, liver, and bowel. Ultimately, an extensive workup at Medstar Georgetown University Hospital revealed that the patient had donor derived malignancies. This clinical correlation between the donor’s cancer and the patient’s cancer was confirmed by several physicians at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital. These physicians also acknowledged that three other recipients of the same organ donor also had malignant tumors. The patient ultimately died on Sunday, May 13, 2018. His cause of death was determined to be sepsis and metastatic cancer following a kidney pancreas transplant.
The lawsuit alleges that the patient’s death was a result of the negligence of MedStar Georgetown medical Center and its employees in transplanting a diseased organ into the patient and failing to appropriately counsel the patient on the risks of the transplant.
The action is pending in the Superior Court for the District of Columbia.