The Department of Health (DOH) and National Taiwan University Hospital (NTUH) have been told to correct their organ transplant policies, according to information posted on the Control Yuan’s Web site.
The Control Yuan said DOH had failed to properly supervise the operation of the Taiwan Organ and Sharing Center, a private entity set up by the department to coordinate the supply of organs. Noting the center has been headed by different vice health ministers because of frequent reshuffles within the department, the Control Yuan said the DOH is both the supervisor and operator of the center, which the watchdog body said was a flaw in the system.
It also blamed the hospital for failing to require its Organ Procurement Team to double check the results of tests carried out on donated organs, adding that the team’s telephone communication skills need improvement, as mistakes were often made.
The Control Yuan made the decision after looking into a case in which organs from a deceased AIDS patient were transplanted to five patients by the NTUH and National Cheng Kung University Hospital in Tainan on Aug. 24 last year. An investigation found a medical examiner who carried out an HIV test on the donor told a coordinator in English on the phone that the result was “active,” which the coordinator misinterpreted as “negative.”