MATSUYAMA, Ehime Pref. – Uwajima Tokushukai Hospital, at the center of a recent organ purchase scandal, admitted Saturday it conducted kidney transplants without the formal consent of donors.
The hospital in Ehime Prefecture, which earlier admitted using kidneys feared to have been affected by donors’ diseases in 11 transplant operations, said it conducted eight transplants without the written consent of the donors.
“We did not take written agreements. But we sufficiently explained to donors and their families,” Makoto Mannami, in charge of kidney transplants at the hospital, said at a news conference.
He claimed the donors verbally approved the use of their kidneys for the transplants.
Mannami also admitted he did not obtain written agreements from the transplant recipients either.
Hospital President Hiromichi Sadashima said at the news conference that although he let Mannami handle the matter, “I knew to some extent.”
The hospital conducted the 11 transplants starting in April 2004 using kidneys removed from patients suffering tumors, swollen arteries or other conditions affecting the organs. The organs were brought to the hospital after it confirmed the diseases were not serious.
The practice violates nonbinding guidelines of the Japan Society for Transplantation, which limits kidney transplants from live donors to relatives of the recipient.
Mannami said he removed kidneys in six of the 11 cases, and he did not obtain written consent from the donors in those cases.
“There are patients who are really suffering due to the lack of donors,” Mannami said. “We conducted the organ transplants considering such urgent situations.”
Meanwhile, it was also learned that a younger brother of Mannami, who is also a doctor, removed kidneys from patients at two hospitals in Okayama Prefecture and sent them to Uwajima Tokushukai Hospital for transplants after saying he was sending them to a laboratory for further testing.
In one of the two cases, Rensuke Mannami, removed a kidney from a woman suspected of having cancer at a hospital in Bizen, Okayama Prefecture, in June.
The elder Mannami performed a kidney transplant on a patient that matched the woman’s blood type the following day.
The hospital in Bizen said it had no knowledge that the removed kidney was used for a transplant.
Despite the scandal, a 69-year-old woman from Uwajima, Ehime Prefecture, who underwent a kidney transplant there expressed gratitude to Mannami.
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