When a doctor, nurse, or other medical professional makes a mistake, a patient can be affected in many different ways. The mistake can lead to worsened or even life-threatening health conditions, impacting an individual on physical, emotional, and financial levels.

Non-medical professionals typically rely on the medical expertise of their doctors and nurses. But negligence on the part of a medical professional can be devastating. Just recently a Pennsylvania couple filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, as well as several other entities.

The couple had been at the medical center getting a liver transplant. The woman was donating one of her kidneys to her boyfriend who suffered from diabetes and a related kidney disease. The two had decided to go through with a living donor transplant after discovering that they were a compatible match.

It is routine to screen donors for certain types of diseases and infections. And while many transplant centers test for HIV, not all follow the exact same procedure. Only HIV testing is required for transplant centers. This testing is supposed to prevent diseases and infections from being transferred to the receiving patient.

For this particular couple, something went wrong. While the transplant procedure itself was a success, it was discovered after the surgery that the woman had hepatitis and transferred it to her boyfriend. They believe that the doctors were negligent by failing to inform them of the infected organ. The woman and her boyfriend will now have to live with the affects of hepatitis, on both their health and their medical expenses.

The defendants in the lawsuit have responded, denying that they intentionally kept the information from her. They have already suspended a doctor and nurse. But is that enough? It is likely not enough, given that the woman and her boyfriend filed the civil claim. Not only could it hold the defendants responsible for their negligence, it may also result in a settlement that could help with present and future medical costs and pain and suffering.

Source: MSNBC: “Couple sues hospital after he gets her infected kidney,” JoNel Aleccia, Sept. 21, 2011