A woman in Michigan died due to COVID-19 complications, as the transplanted lungs she has received from a donor had been infected with the novel coronavirus.
Although there were no apparent signs of the coronavirus infection and the tests were negative, the tragic incident happened months after the transplant. During the pandemic, around 40,000 cases of transplant had been recorded so far, but a death resulting from the transplant of infected lungs is the first of its kind.
After the incident, the healthcare authorities have made it mandatory to test all the donated organs for the possible signs of infection.
It is the first case of coronavirus-related death when someone has died receiving a transplanted organ. The surgeon who handled the transplant surgery also contracted the virus, but he tested negative later on.
However, as a large team was involved in the transplantation process, 10 other members of the team were tested negative for the COVID-19.
The lungs were transplanted and taken from another woman who was suffering from a head injury after a car accident. Although the samples were taken from the nose and the throat of the donor showed no presence of the coronavirus.
However, just three days after the successful surgery the recipient fell ill and reported high fever, and was later on moved to a ventilator due to breathing issues.
As her condition started to deteriorate the recipient was diagnosed with heart complications. When the doctors tested her new lungs, they found out about the presence of COVID-19.
The donor family has told the medical staff that there were no known symptoms of the virus infection and that the donor was healthy in the last days of her life.
The doctors believe that the infection must have been transferred from the donor. After the diagnosis, the physicians tried every possible method to counter the attack of the deadly virus including the blood plasma antibodies, but was ultimately too late as the patient had already suffered multiple organ failures.
The recipient of the transplanted lungs was put on oxygen, but she could not survive.
Although this is a novel case, the CDC has reported eight other such cases in which patients died after receiving infected organs.
The Michigan incident has proved that there is a need to introduce new protocols for organ transplants.