Scandal over Ehime doc’s transplants grows wider

Kyodo

A doctor under fire for transplanting kidneys from cancer patients has also transplanted kidneys from live donors with hepatitis and syphilis, sources said Saturday.

Makoto Mannami, 66, a senior urologist at Uwajima Tokushukai Hospital in Uwajima, Ehime Prefecture, transplanted the kidneys from a patient with the degenerative kidney disease nephrosis who tested positive for hepatitis B to two recipients, the sources said.

The transplants were performed at Uwajima Municipal Hospital, which is run by the Uwajima Municipal Government, where he worked until March 2004, they said.

Mannami also transplanted a kidney from a man due to urinary duct cancer, despite his testing positive for syphilis antibodies in 2003 at Mihara Red Cross Hospital in Mihara, Hiroshima Prefecture, according to the sources.

The Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry sets a guideline banning kidney transplants from dead donors who test positive for hepatitis or HIV, or who were suffering from cancer.

There are no such guidelines on kidney transplants from live donors.

However, Takahiro Akiyama, a professor of urology at Kinki University Sakai Hospital in Osaka Prefecture, said the use of kidneys from donors who contracted hepatitis B, whether the donors are alive or dead, should never be conducted in light of medical common sense due to the risk of infection.

Infection risk is high because immunosuppressive agents are used on organ transplant recipients, Akiyama said.

Mannami is already known to have participated in dozens of transplants involving unhealthy kidneys.

The scandal emerged after police arrested a man in early October on suspicion of paying for a kidney he received during a transplant.