This by all counts is depressing all the way around to receive a “life saving” organ only to find out that the organ had not undergone sufficient screening and then come down with cancer after the transplant. Getting a transplant with the hope of a better or longer life is stressful enough.
Some cancers are supposed to be safe for transplant but there’s still a lot more to be said and researched on that side of the coin. The risk associated is small but if the alternative were death, I think most of us would take our chances.
What Liew, 37, and his doctors didn't know then was that his new kidney had come with an undiagnosed cancer from its original owner, one that would cause him to die seven months later of uterine cancer.
The New York City man's autopsy revealed widespread tumors in his lungs, bladder, kidneys and prostate, all consistent with the kind of uterine cancer cells found post-mortem in the donor.
Kimberly Liew is now suing the doctors at the NYU Medical Center who performed the transplant, claiming that they didn't properly screen the organ, failed to recognize and treat Liew's cancer, and withheld information concerning the donor's cancer from the couple, according to court.
Although the organ had been cleared for use by the New York Organ Donor Network before the transplant, results from the donor's autopsy later revealed that she suffered from an undiagnosed uterine cancer that had spread to the right ovary and lungs, court papers say.
Although surgeons can have as many as 20 hours for kidney transplants to organize the transplant and screen the donor for eligibility, the window is fewer than 10 hours for livers and fewer than six for hearts.
If cancer in a donor went undiagnosed in life, it can be hard to screen for it after the donor has died.