The Chicagoist will be launching later but in the meantime please enjoy our archives.

Loyola Shells Out Big Cash For Heart Transplant Snafu

By Erin in News on Dec 14, 2005 5:45PM

Can someone explain to Chicagoist how it is that a doctor needs to be told that before shipping off someone's organ to be placed in the body of another person for use - as opposed for giggles - he or she needs to EXAMINE IT FIRST? Isn't that sort of, oh, a given?

Apparently not.

2005_12_hearttransplant.jpgOn Monday, a Cook County jury awarded the family of man who died as a result of the diseased heart he received during a transplant operation in 2001 $2.7 million, citing negligence by Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood where the transplant took place.

According to the Sun-times, "the doctor who transplanted the heart wasn't sued, and the doctor who examined it at another hospital -- and approved it for a transplant -- wasn't found liable in the death." Instead, said jury blamed Loyola for not telling the doctor who examined the heart from the donor out of Good Samaritan Hospital in Downers Grove that he needed to check it out while it was inside and outside of the donor's body.

"He thought he had to hurry and get it back to Loyola, so he bagged it and shipped it," attorney Tom Leahy said. "But our experts said you have to look at it out of the body to see if it's diseased."

The kicker is, according to the article, the surgeon performing the transplant, who'd already removed 58-year-old Carl Longnecker's heart, lifted the lid on the cooler, and said he saw signs that the donor heart was diseased and apparently he had to put donated heart inside the chest of the Longnecker, who died three days later without waking.

Honestly. Someone explain to Chicagoist how such a thing isn't plain ol' common sense. Any doctors in the house?