Duke Implements Additional Transplantation Safeguards

As a result of a blood type mismatch that occurred during the Feb. 7, 2003 heart-lung transplant for Jesica Santillan, Duke University Hospital has implemented additional safeguards that will improve the safety of the organ transplantation process.
“Every effort is being made to save Jesica’s life,” said William Fulkerson, M.D., CEO of Duke Hospital. “Our primary concern has always been for Jesica and her family. This was a tragic error, and we accept responsibility for our part. This is an especially sad situation since we intended this operation to save the life of a girl whose prognosis was grave. Jesica continues to remain at the top of the national organ donation list.

Eds: Jesica Santillan received a new heart transplant that was reportedly functioning unaided Thursday afternoon.

West Nile heads west

A Los Angeles County woman has tested positive for West Nile virus in what is likely to be the first case of a person contracting the illness west of the Rockies, state health officials said today. Today’s preliminary results are expected to be confirmed by further tests next week. The unidentified woman, who is being treated for meningitis, had not traveled outside the region, which would indicate that the infection, if confirmed, occurred locally. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 43 people have died so far this year from the disease, which is spread by mosquitos (or possibly through organ transplants).