Woman donor’s organs selected for transplants

Doctors will transplant the heart, kidneys, liver and pancreas from a woman in her 50s who was declared brain-dead Tuesday to selected recipients, officials of the Japan Organ Transplant Network announced.

The donor’s heart, pancreas and one of her kidneys will be transplanted to patients at Osaka University Hospital and her liver will go to a patient at Kyoto University Hospital, the network said.

Her other kidney will be transplanted to a patient at Shinrakuen Hospital in Niigata.

All the transplant operations were expected to be completed by this morning.

Her heart, extracted by a team of doctors at Kyorin University Hospital in Mitaka, western Tokyo, was taken to Osaka shortly before 6 p.m. Tuesday. The operation to transplant the heart to a male repicient in his 40s began later in the day.

The woman was the seventh organ donor in Japan under the 1997 Organ Transplant Law.

The patient underwent two tests six hours apart at the Tokyo hospital and was confirmed brain-dead at 8:15 a.m. Tuesday, the network told a news conference.

The hospital informed the network of the patient’s condition at 3:19 p.m. Monday.

The woman, who was being treated at the hospital for cerebral blood vessel problems, had an organ donor card stipulating her organs could be transplanted in the event of brain death, the officials said.

Her family endorsed the donation and the brain-death testing procedure, they said.

The woman’s organ-donor card, attached to her driver’s license, indicated her consent for the transplanting of her heart, lungs, liver, pancreas, kidneys and small intestine.

Her small intestine will not be transplanted due to a lack of registered patients requiring the organ, the network said.

The last such transplants took place in mid-April using the organs of a woman in her 40s who was declared brain-dead at Yuri Kumiai General Hospital in Honjo, Akita Prefecture.

The procedures were illegal in Japan before the introduction of the transplant law. In 1984, a criminal complaint was filed against a surgeon at the hospital attached to the University of Tsukuba after he transplanted the pancreas and kidneys from a brain-dead patient.

Prosecutors finally decided not to indict the doctor in 1998, after the law was introduced.