Malpractice Lawsuits Filed Over Infected Organs Transplants

Two medical malpractice lawsuits have been filed in Mississippi by transplant recipients and their survivors who say that the kidneys they received were infected with parasites that caused encephalitis. 

The complaints name the Mississippi Organ Recovery Agency and the University of Mississippi Medical Center as defendants and have been filed by the family of Ellecia Small and Kinyata Johnson.

Small died in February 2010 after allegedly contracting a brain infection known as encephalitis from a contaminated kidney, according to the wrongful death lawsuit filed by her family. As a result of another infection caused by an organ transplant, Johnson survived, but is now blind and will require care for the rest of his life.

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According to allegations raised in the infected organ transplant lawsuits, the kidneys were taken from a donor who contracted encephalitis due to parasites that were still present in the kidneys when Small and Johnson received them. While the lawsuits were filed separately in Hinds County Circuit Court, they have been consolidated for at least the discovery process due to the similar circumstances involved in both cases. They may proceed as individual cases once again after the discovery is completed.

University of Mississippi Medical Center filed papers suggesting that Small died of complications from previous medical problems she suffered from before the kidney transplant. The university’s attorneys pushed for the cases to be consolidated, arguing that they arose from the same event.

The lawsuits seek an unspecified amount of damages against the defendants. The trial involving the lawsuit filed by Small’s family is expected to begin next year.

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