Surgeon linked to another unhealthy kidney

Kyodo

The surgeon accused of transplanting unhealthy kidneys at Uwajima Tokushukai Hospital in Ehime Prefecture also helped remove one from a seriously ill patient in Kagoshima around September 2000, medical sources said Monday.

The kidney was most likely transplanted, the sources said.

The operation was performed on a woman around 70 years old at Kagoshima Tokushukai Hospital who was suffering from an aneurysmatic kidney, or one that forms a sac in the tissue due to injury or disease.

Two of the doctors involved in the operation were Makoto Mannami, the surgeon at Uwajima Tokushukai Hospital, and Keiichi Kitajima, an honorary director at Kagoshima Tokushukai Hospital.

Mannami started conducting kidney transplants at Kagoshima Tokushukai more than 10 years ago, the sources said. He is known to have participated in 11 unhealthy-kidney transplants at Uwajima Tokushukai since April 2004, when he started working there.

On Saturday, Mannami admitted he performed kidney transplants without formal consent from the patients.

“We did not take written agreements. But we sufficiently explained to donors and their families,” Mannami said at a news conference. He claimed the donors verbally approved donating their kidneys.

Mannami’s former employer, Uwajima Municipal Hospital, said Monday there no transplants using unhealthy kidneys were conducted while Mannami was there.

On Oct. 1, police arrested a man suspected of buying a kidney and a woman suspected of brokering the deal after the man underwent a transplant in September at Uwajima Tokushukai Hospital, which was subsequently raided.

The alleged kidney deal is shining a spotlight on the hospital’s donor-screening methods, because the woman who allegedly sold her kidney to the man lied when she told the hospital she was the recipient’s sister.

Later, Uwajima Tokushukai was found to have transplanted 11 unhealthy kidneys taken from patients suffering myriad ailments, ranging from tumors to swollen arteries.

The Tokushukai group, founded in 1975 by former House of Representatives member Torao Tokuda, operates a network of 63 hospitals from Hokkaido to Okinawa.