Implanted Pancreas Was Cancerous, Woman Says, Suing Hospital

SACRAMENTO (CN) — Victim of a macabre hospital tragedy, a California woman Thursday sued two organ donor networks and a hospital, claiming they sold her and implanted a cancerous pancreas.

Jennifer Ravens says it took doctors at UCSF Hospital in San Francisco six months to identify and remove the failing pancreas, but it was too late, as cancer had spread to her ovaries and nearby organs. Organs from Ravens’ donor were also implanted in two other people who died of cancer, according to the complaint in Sacramento Superior Court.

Ravens underwent surgery at UCSF in June 2016 after securing a kidney and pancreas transplant from co-defendants United Network for Organ Sharing and Donor Network West. She says the nonprofits failed to vet her donor’s organs and that the hospital compounded the error by implanting the cancerous pancreas.

“The common donor apparently died of metastasized cancer,” the complaint states.

The nonprofits are two of the largest organ procurement organizations in the country, providing service to hundreds of facilities including California hospitals UCSF, Stanford Hospital and Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.

The nonprofits could not be contacted for comment after office hours Thursday, nor could defendants The Regents of the University of California and UCSF Hospital.

After her transplant surgery, Ravens says, the defendants became aware that the common donors’ organs had been implanted in two other patients and decided to explant her kidney and pancreas.

Pathology tests determined that Ravens’ kidney was not cancerous but the pancreas was. It also was revealed that her cancer had spread. Doctors quickly removed one of Ravens’ fallopian tubes, an ovary and lymph nodes.

Ravens, represented by Jeffrey Sevey with Sevey, Donahue & Talcott of Roseville, seeks damages for product liability, breach of warranty and negligence.

“She has been deprived of successful transplants, has had cancer introduced into her body … and has lost her position on the transplant list,” the 7-page complaint states.

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