UCI Medical Center Sued Over Liver Transplants

UCI Medical Center Sued Over Liver Transplants

A lawsuit seeking class-action status has been filed against the University of California, Irvine Medical Center for negligence in the hospital’s handling of potential liver transfer patients.  Audrey Degenhardt, whose husband died in April 2004 after waiting for five years on UCI’s liver transplant waiting list, filed the suit along with two others.

Degenhardt said the hospital kept telling them to wait and that the hospital deliberately misled them about the availability of liver transplants at the hospital and around the country.  The lawsuit was filed just a few days after the US government cut funding to UCI because of over 30 deaths in patients who were waiting for livers.

The other plaintiffs in the case are Andrea Razetto and her husband Carlos.  Andrea waited six years on the liver waiting list before going to Chicago’s Rush University Medical Center for her liver transplant in 2004.

Allegations of the lawsuit include the revelations that UCI Medical Center improperly informed their patients about their lack of a present liver transplant surgeon.  UCI did not have a liver surgeon in Irvine since one left in June of 2003.  The hospital’s current liver surgeons are based about a 100 miles away in San Diego.

The lawsuit also says that the doctors at the hospital deliberately chose to do more expensive surgeries before any liver transplants or liver related procedures.  The lawsuit alleges that the University rejected hundreds of liver offers over the years.  The allegations and history of the abuse was the subject of a recent Los Angeles Times article that has officials at UCI scrambling to save face.

UCI’s liver program was also found to have a one-year survival rate of 68-70 percent, well below the national requirement of 77.  Some 12 liver transplants are also required by law per year, and UCI has only performed 5 so far this year and is the only liver transplant hospital in Orange County.

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