A kidney transplant patient in Maryland has died after receiving a new kidney. Tragically, the kidney that the patient received was infected with rabies.
The patient contracted rabies from the infected kidney and then died from the disease. Three other organ transplant patients received different organs from the same donor, and all three are currently being tested and treated to prevent rabies infection.
The surgeons involved with the kidney and other organ transplants reportedly did not suspect that the donor had rabies. As a result, the donor was not tested for the disease before his organs were removed for the multiple transplant procedures.
Medical experts report that transplant surgeons often face difficult situations, and must make rapid decisions, because time is so critical in transplant procedures. Once the donor of the organs dies, the organs begin to deteriorate rapidly and thus must be transplanted into the recipient without any significant delay. Although certain diseases, like HIV and hepatitis, are routinely tested for, rabies is an uncommon disease and is generally not tested for unless someone suspects that the donor is infected.
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