MATSUYAMA, Ehime Pref. – A hospital in Ehime Prefecture that has been caught up in a recent scandal over the alleged sale of a kidney to a transplant patient, obtained kidneys from donors with unhealthy organs, according to an in-house probe made public Thursday.
Uwajima Tokushukai Hospital said 11 transplants it preformed since it opened in April 2004 were of kidneys from unhealthy donors. It did not provide details on the nature of the diseases.
A staff doctor at the hospital who participated in three of the 11 transplants said the kidneys were from patients at other hospitals who were suspected of having kidney cancer, tumors or aneurysms. The organs were brought to the Uwajima hospital after it confirmed the diseases were not serious.
The doctor is close to Makoto Mannami, 66, the surgeon in charge of kidney transplants at the hospital who conducted the 11 procedures.
On Friday, Mannami said the 11 cases included transplants between unrelated people, without specifying the exact number. It violates the unbinding guidelines of the Japan Society for Transplantation, which limits kidney transplants from live donors to relatives of the recipient.
The hospital said it will set up a committee that includes outsiders to look into the procedures and whether the donors were adequately informed of the risks.
Since police arrested a man in early October for allegedly paying for his transplanted kidney, the hospital has investigated all 78 kidney transplants it has performed from the time it opened until September.
Mannami earlier claimed all the kidneys donated for transplant were from relatives of the patients.
But the hospital said it could not confirm, besides the 11 cases, the relationship between donors and recipients in five cases, including one involving a foreign national. The hospital will continue to probe those cases, it said.
The alleged kidney purchase has thrown 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.
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