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South Carolina Woman Files Lawsuit After Husband Receives Lung Transplant From Donor With Mismatched Blood Type


The ability to transplant organs has revolutionized medicine.  Because of donated organs, many people have survived illnesses that previously had a 100 percent fatality rate.  Organ transplants are never simple, though.  Even in the best of circumstances, living with a transplanted organ involves life-changing side effects from the medications that prevent the recipient’s body from rejecting the organ.  In some instances, though, the transplanted organ eventually fails, and the process of waiting for a new organ to become available begins again.  One of the reasons that organ transplants have such a high rate of success, and one of the reasons that patients who need organ transplants have to wait so long to get them even though the number of organ donors is steadily increasing, is that doctor must carefully match donated organs to recipients to ensure the highest chances that the patient will adapt well to the donated organ.  In 2018, a South Carolina man died after a preventable error in which doctors transplanted an organ that his body had little chance of accepting, and now his wife has filed a lawsuit against the various entities that could have prevented the error and saved her husband’s life.  If you suffered serious harm because of a medical error involving mismatched blood types, contact a South Carolina medical malpractice lawyer.

Blood Transfusion Leads to Confusion Over Organ Donor’s Blood Type

After retiring from a successful business career in Connecticut, Allen Holliman retired to Aiken, South Carolina with his wife Michelle.  When he was diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis, his doctors placed him on the list of people who need lung transplants, and organ donation networks across the country worked to match him to a donor lung.  Pulmonary fibrosis, a condition which causes the lung tissue to gradually become more brittle until the patient can no longer breathe, is of unknown cause.  By late 2018, when We Are Sharing Hope SC notified Holliman that a donor organ had become available, he and Michelle traveled immediately to Charleston so he could undergo transplant surgery at Medical University of South Carolina.

One of the simpler aspects of matching donor organs to recipients is ensuring that their blood types match.  Consider that, if you have ever had even a minor surgery, doctors probably made sure they knew your blood type before proceeding.  Shortly before the donor died, he or she received a blood transfusion, and therefore the blood test on the organ came back inconclusive.  (For medical privacy reasons, organ donors’ identities and causes of death are not disclosed, but many donated organs come from victims of traumatic injuries.)  As a result, Allen Holliman died shortly after the transplant surgery.  Meanwhile, a patient in Tennessee received a liver from the same donor.  That patient’s body also rejected the organ and ended up needing and receiving another liver donation.  In November 2020, Michelle Holliman filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against MUSC and We Are Sharing Hope SC, as well as the United Network for Organ Sharing.

Contact Us Today for Help

Contacting a Columbia personal injury lawyer is the first step to rebuilding your life after being harmed by a medical error.  Contact The Stanley Law Group for more information.



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