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Organ Transplants

June 7, 2008 | Charles Ornstein and John M. Glionna, Times Staff Writers
An influential U.S. senator sent a series of letters Friday seeking additional details about four liver transplants at UCLA Medical Center involving patients who were suspected members or associates of Japanese organized crime groups. "While surgeons do not seek to pass moral judgment on the patients they treat, Americans hope at the very least that foreign criminal figures wait in line along with the rest of us," Sen. Charles E.
May 19, 2008 | Charles Ornstein and Tracy Weber, Times Staff Writers
Prompted by serious lapses at three California organ transplant programs, federal inspectors have documented broad failings by the agencies that oversee the nation's transplant system and raised doubts about the pace of promised improvements. In a soon-to-be-released report, the Government Accountability Office confirms findings by The Times in 2005 and 2006 that transplant regulators failed to spot problem programs and didn't step in quickly to protect patients. Sen.
April 7, 2008 | From Times Wire Reports
A man who received a heart transplant 12 years ago and later married the donor's widow died the same way the donor did, authorities said: of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Sonny Graham was on the verge of congestive heart failure in 1995 when he got a call that a heart was available in Charleston. That heart was from Terry Cottle, 33, who had shot himself. Grateful for his new heart, Graham began writing letters to the donor's family and later met and married his donor's widow, Cheryl Cottle, then 28. No foul play was suspected in 69-year-old Graham's death in Vidalia.
March 13, 2008 | Jeffrey Fleishman and Noha El-Hennawy, Times Staff Writers
He sits quietly at the corner cafe, a gold watch flickering on his wrist. If you need a liver, or want to sell a piece of yours, grab a chair and get acquainted with Mustafa Hamed, a 24-year-old ex-bus driver who fell unexpectedly into a life as a broker in human organs. Hamed's 4-year-old son, Mohamed, was dying of cancer and needed an artery transplant that cost $5,000. The only savings Hamed had was what he fished from his pockets at the end of the day.
March 10, 2008 | Erin Cline Davis, Special to The Times
Until drugs that suppress the body's immune response were introduced in the 1960s, most organ transplants failed. "The drugs are wonderful," says Dr. David Sachs, a professor of surgery at Harvard Medical School and director of the Transplantation Biology Research Center at Massachusetts General Hospital. "They made transplantation possible." The medications can prevent rejection of the organ that occurs even when it is matched by blood type and the six most important surface proteins, called HLA markers.
February 29, 2008 | Steve Chawkins, Times Staff Writer
A transplant surgeon accused of illegally hastening the death of a prospective organ donor acted properly when he ordered sizable doses of pain and anxiety medication for the comatose man, the physician's attorney suggested in court Thursday. Gravely ill, Ruben Navarro "was going to die shortly, whether in minutes or in hours," said attorney M. Gerald Schwartzbach as he asked a question of a witness. "In that situation, you err on the side of ensuring that he's pain-free."
February 28, 2008 | Steve Chawkins, Times Staff Writer
No one in the courtroom Wednesday suggested that Ruben Navarro could have avoided death for long. But whether the severely retarded, comatose 25-year-old was nudged into it by an impatient transplant surgeon is at the core of a legal proceeding unprecedented in the United States. Dr. Hootan Roozrokh, 34, has been charged with three felonies in Navarro's 2006 death.
January 19, 2008 | From Times Staff and Wire Reports
Researchers reported Monday in the journal Nature Medicine that they had coaxed hearts from dead rats to beat again and said the discovery might lead to customized organ transplants for people. The University of Minnesota team used decellularization to wash away existing cells from the hearts of dead rats while leaving the basic collagen structure intact. It injected this gelatin-like scaffold with heart cells from newborn rats, fed the cells a nutrient-rich solution and left them in the lab to grow.
July 26, 2007 | Christian Berthelsen, Times Staff Writer
The University of California has agreed to pay $7.5 million to settle 35 claims filed on behalf of patients who waited in vain for liver transplants at UCI Medical Center and who were unaware that the school's program lacked the staffing to perform the life-saving operations. The university closed the program in November 2005 after The Times reported that 32 patients died awaiting operations, even as the hospital in Orange turned down scores of organs proffered on their behalf.
July 24, 2007 | From Times Wire Reports
Israeli police have broken up an organ-transplant ring that persuaded dozens of Israelis to have a kidney removed in Ukraine in exchange for $30,000 each. Nine Israelis suspected of organ and human trafficking are in custody, police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said. The case was opened when an Israeli woman filed a police complaint charging that she was not paid after her kidney was removed in Ukraine, Rosenfeld said.
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