A western Pennsylvania couple filed negligence lawsuits Tuesday against the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center-Presbyterian Hospital and University of Pittsburgh Physicians after receiving an infected kidney during a transplant.
The lawsuits allege that UPMC allowed an April transplant to proceed, even though tests had shown the kidney was infected with Hepatitis C.
UPMC said in a statement that it sincerely regrets the human error behind the problem, but that "any allegation of a cover-up is completely false." UPMC said that once the error was discovered it informed the patients and national transplant oversight officials.
The lawsuits were filed by Michael Yocabet and Christina Mecannic, partners who have been together for 21 years. She donated the kidney to him, and the lawsuit said UPMC didn't tell either of them Mecannic's kidney was infected until after the transplant.
The complaint alleges that about a month after the transplant a UMPC surgeon met with Mecannic, told her about the positive test, and suggested the option of not telling her partner. The surgeon also allegedly suggested that Mecannic was unfaithful, or a drug user.
A few days later, UPMC staff allegedly called the couple and suggested they had leaked the story of the botched transplant to local papers. Yocabet and Mecannic said they were upset to be accused of something they didn't do, which in any case wasn't a crime.
Harry Cohen, the couple's lawyer, said Yocabet hasn't rejected the kidney and is "doing OK." But he faces potential long-term problems from the Hepatitis C, he said.
UPMC shut down the transplant program in early May for two months but didn't explain why at the time. The lawsuit claims UMPC charges $400,000 to $500,000 for a kidney transplant, and that the company "placed a high priority on volume and profit."