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Wives, sisters look for answers after failed Massachusetts liver transplant

Two sisters are now widows after a Massachusetts liver transplant between their husbands. The gift of life that one brother-in-law gave to the other, cost the donor his life.

According to sources, the story begins on Thanksgiving Day 2009. It was then that the 56-year-old man learned that his brother-in-law would die soon without a liver transplant. The 56-year-old volunteered, and was an ideal match. The two men entered surgery about six months later, but only one of them made it out of surgery. According to a medical malpractice lawsuit, the widow of the donor is charging that her husband was not properly informed of the risks and died as a result.

Apparently it was a surgery that the Lahey Clinic in Burlington had performed many times. The donor was healthy and the recipient came out of the surgery successfully. However, the widow stated that "'We walked into the hospital a married couple, and I left the hospital at the end of the day as they loaded my husband onto the coroner's truck."

The hospital error allegedly stems from information that was not conveyed to the couple prior to surgery. In the pre-surgery testing, the donor's EKG was abnormal, placing him at additional risk. During the surgery, the donor suffered a cardiac arrest, from which he could not be saved.

The widow claims that had they been informed of the risk that they would not have agreed to the surgery.

Sadly, the recipient lived for less than one year with his donated liver. The sisters are now both widows. Litigation is underway as the donor's wife seeks compensation for her loss.

Source: Daily Mail, "Wife's agony as husband dies during 'safe' procedure to donate liver to brother-in-law who passed away less than a year later," April 10, 2012

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