Can they do anything for this girl?

This story says that a young girl was given transplant organs with the wrong blood type. She is now in critical condition. My question, is it too late for them to find new organs and do another transplant or is the damage already done?

How tragic…to wait three years, finally get the organs you need, and they’re the wrong type.

The article says her kidneys are already damaged. If they get new organs, she may be in line for a kidney transplant.

In theory: new organs can save her. In addition to new heart and lungs, though, she might also need new kidneys.

In reality: she’s probably doomed. The odds of finding a match are never great, but finding a match in the short amount of time she has left is so unlikely as to be near impossible. In addition, at a certain point her body will be too damaged to survive surgery even if a match is found.

Unfortunately, she is going to die unless a real miracle happens.

The finger-pointing among the medical “professionals” in this case has already begun. The office that shipped the organs swears up and down that the blood type was clearly marked on the package, and that the snafu happened at the other end.

This is a travesty.

Here, the problem is that her blood type is O, the universal donor, but she can only recieve type O blood, which is so rare that people who have it can be payed hundreds of dollars for one transfusion worth of the stuff. It’s definitely not likely that she will be provided with a new heart and pair of lungs, with type O blood, fast enough to save her life. It’s a prime example of how every little pen stroke counts, and every letter typed has an often unexpected effect on another’s life.

A couple of corrections: The girl has O-positive blood. The universal donor is O-negative. While O-negative is relatively rare, O-positive is actually the most common type (I’ve got the stuff myself and I just give it away from time to time). Cite

Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean that the right organs are all that common. There’s a lot more to it than just blood type.

Also, it’s not like you’re very resilient even after a successful transplant. The procedure is hard on the body!

I thought that blood type matching was just part of finding the most suitable donor and not absolutely critical (as clearly it seems to be).

I know it would be bad, for example, if a type O received A or B (or AB) blood. The immune system would attack and coagulate the foreign blood and that rasberry-jam-consistency blood could and would easily clot.

If only we knew how the immune system recognizes foreign bodies. Apparently blood-type is a major criteria - even for heart and lung tissue. Genetic compatibility - even from parents/siblings - does not guarantee a successful transplant and those immuno-suppressive drugs are always needed.

AFAICR blood type ISN’T critical in some cases.
i know of at least one person who now has a different blood type after recieving a bone marrow translant.

what is important is the 6 major immune markers, it is highle unlikely to find another person with the exact same 6, so most transplant are actually on a best 5 or best 4 basis.

however, it’s probably not so much the blood type per se as these markers not being matched on the donor organs that caused the problem, the press simplify it with “blood type”.

i’d say that unfortunately not much can be done.
and that a wrongful death suit is coming up.

***it’s worth remembering that although many people see transplants as lifesaving, they will still not give a normal lifespan to the recipient. in many cases only an extra 5 or 10 years.

for many recipients of organ transplants those years will be spent in ill-health and with a relatively poor quality of life.

just so that everybody realises that we aren’t talking about miracle cures, more like a treatment with fairly horrendous side effects in order to give some extra time.***

This foul villainy will not go unpunished! Minsc and Boo will find the villian behind this evil plot! They will suffer! Go for the eyes Boo! Go for the EYES!


Yes folks, it’s the comedy stylings of smiling bandit.

Try to show a little respect, could you?

by oldman_withers

Wow. I’m an O-negative and didn’t realize my stuff was that valuable. Are you sure about this?

My dad was O-negative. He donated through the Red Cross and got the same compensation as anyone else, cookie and juice (or whatever the going rate was at the time). He also got a lot of reminder postcards since his blood type was so desireable.

I suppose it’s possible that some of those ‘come donate your plasma!’ places might actually pay a premium for O- blood, but I have no idea if it’s true.

<slight hijack>

I happen to work for the national bone marrow donor registry of the U.S. What irishgirl said is correct … but the example she used was a bone marrow transplant and her example really only strictly applies to bone marrow transplantation (BMT).

In a BMT, you are replacing a patient’s entire immune system, and so the ‘markers’ that irishgirl talked about need to be very precisely matched. In a BMT, you are essentially trying to trick the patient’s body into not only accepting foreign cells (the donated marrow), but also having those cells multiply and replace all of the diseased cells in the recipient’s marrow. This requires very precise HLA matching. (HLA=human leukocyte antigen, the ‘markers’ spoken of earlier.)

If the BMT is a success, the new, donor-origin marrow cells begin producing new red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. It really doesn’t matter whether the blood types of the donor and the recipient match in a BMT – any stray red blood cells collected along with the donated marrow are of little consequence. (And if the recipient’s physicians are concerned about a blood type mismatch, the marrow can be purged of the offending red blood cells prior to transplant.)

And, it’s quite common that a BMT changes the recipient’s blood type – after all, it’s the marrow that produces the body’s red blood cells. (Incidentally, a BMT recipient’s marrow and blood cells will have different DNA in them – the DNA of the donor.* This fact has been used by many a hack mystery writer to concoct a ‘surprise’ ending.)

Anyway, to get back to the OP, the HLA matching requirements for solid-organ transplants are much less stringent than the HLA matching requirements for a BMT. Essentially, the solid-organ transplanter seeks to match broad HLA groups, not specific antigens per se. Immunosuppressive drugs such as ATG (the primary ‘anti-rejection’ drug) can be used very successfully to prevent the recipient’s immune system from attacking the new organ(s). But, as we have unfortunately seen, blood type is very important in sold-organ transplants.

*Red blood cells will not have the donor’s DNA, because red blood cells do not have nuclei.

Oh, and BTW, even rare blood types cannot sell their blood, in the U.S. at least, where it is illegal to sell body tissues and the like. (Plasma is another matter altogether.) This federal law is designed to prevent people with nasty blood diseases from lying about their conditions in order to get the cash.

Oh, and as to the OP: the local NBC affiliate’s story this morning said that she’s been bumped to the top of the transplant lists in the hope that a match could be found. So it’s possible she could be saved, but not terribly likely.

Is she even strong enough for another surgery?

In plasma, AB (don’t remember if positive or negative) is the universal donor. So if they pay more per blood type, they would probably treat the O- donor no different than the As or Bs donors.

What about an Abiocor? For the heart, at least.

Not quite sure where you got your information. A lot of people that have transplants live normal lifespans. A lot of them have children and get married and live normally. They are just on anti rejection drugs for the rest of their lives. My mom had a transplant and she is expected to live a normal lifespan. I am not sure if you were specifically talking about a certain transplant, but if you were grouping them all into one category, I would like a cite.

A local news channel (WRAL) reported tonight that Jesica underwent a CAT scan late this afternoon. The family’s lawyer stated that the doctors didn’t see anything of “clinical significance,” but that there was still brain activity present.