Taiwan hospitals fined over HIV organ transplants

TAIPEI - Two prestigious Taiwanese hospitals were fined Tw$150,000 (S$6,224) each for negligence which led to five patients receiving organs from an HIV positive donor, authorities said Wednesday.

The National Taiwan University Hospital and National Cheng Kung University Hospital will also face criminal charges and additional fines if their patients contract the HIV virus from the transplants, the health department said.

The family of a 38-year-old man, surnamed Chiu, decided to donate his organs after he fell to his death last week, unaware that he was an HIV carrier.

Medical technicians performing standard blood tests found that Chiu was HIV positive before his liver, lungs and kidneys were harvested.

But the message was wrongly relayed and doctors were given the green light to carry out the operations.

Health officials have called the cases "critical medical negligence" and said that random inspections will be carried out at the hospitals.