HealthLeaders Media Staff, December 28, 2009

The plight of two kidney transplant patients who contracted a brain infection from an organ donor is prompting health officials to re-examine their policies on using people with certain neurological conditions as donors, the New York Times reports. The organ donor had had seizures and a brain disorder initially thought to be an autoimmune disease and not transmissible. The real cause of his illness turned out to be a rare, usually fatal infection, but the mistake in diagnosis was not recognized until the transplants were done and the two recipients had become critically ill. The case highlights the lack of a national policy on whether to bar people with poorly defined neurological disorders as donors, the Times reports.

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