After two botched tests, doctors at Fujita Health University Hospital in Toyoake, Aichi Prefecture, on Wednesday finally declared a patient legally brain dead but were unable to use any of the organs for transplant.
The patient, described only as a woman in her 60s hospitalized after a stroke, had consented to donate her organs for transplant upon her death. The Japan Organ Transplant Network said, however, that none of her organs was suitable for transplant.
This is the first time that all the organs donated for transplant by a brain-dead donor have been rejected on medical grounds.
Hospital officials said doctors pronounced the patient brain-dead at 3:19 p.m. Wednesday after two previous testing procedures were interrupted.
Doctors began the first brain-death test Monday morning, but halted after determining that a muscle relaxant administered to the patient interfered with the test.
The second, conducted Monday evening, was also interrupted midway after doctors found residues of the drug still in her system.
Doctors carried out a full brain-death test Tuesday night after determining that the effects of the drug had completely disappeared. They then repeated the procedure, as required by law before harvesting donor organs, on Wednesday afternoon.
Officials of the Japan Organ Transplant Network said the failed tests had no bearing on the rejection of the organs.
The hospital on Wednesday, however, acknowledged that a more thorough examination on the possible effects drugs may have on the tests should be carried out before a brain-death test is initiated.
Health Ministry officials said they saw no problem with the testing since the woman was declared brain-dead in accordance with the Organ Transplant Law.
The Aichi woman is the eighth person to have donated organs for transplant upon death since the law came into effect.
A total of 25 people received hearts, lungs, livers, pancreases and kidneys from the previous seven donors.