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North Carolina Man Received Cancerous Donated Kidney

Posted on Apr 28, 2010
It is difficult enough to go through a dangerous and serious kidney transplant – but it is a whole other thing altogether to find out that the new organ you thought would save your life was riddled with cancer.

Unfortunately, this is exactly what happened one year ago at the UNC Hospitals in North Carolina. According to the North Carolina News-Observer, 66-year-old Bob Warzel thought he was in luck when he received a donor kidney from a car accident victim last year. The organ, which was provided by Duke University Medical Center, was successfully put in Warzel, though his body eventually rejected the kidney. After the organ was removed, doctors found that it was cancerous.

Although doctors believe that the cancer has not spread from the donated organ to other parts of Warzel’s body, Bob and his wife are both extremely concerned that this medical mistake took place at all. In fact, their inquiries to Duke University Medical Center about their organ transplant testing have not been clearly answered. They did discover, however, that the donor’s other kidney had been implanted in another Duke patient last year.

Most of the other information involving the cancerous kidney medical malpractice case is protected by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), which gives the right of privacy to the kidney donor.

How often do these types of cancerous kidney medical errors happen? Records show that it has happened (knowingly) 39 times in the last 15 years. In many cases, the donors die in traffic accidents or other moments of trauma and never knew they had cancer.

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