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Lawsuits filed over parasite-infested organ

Donor recipient died after developing severe illnesses

The families of two donor recipients filed lawsuits against the hospital and organ agency they claim didn’t take the proper precautions when transplanting a parasite-tainted organ into the patients.

The families of Ellecia Smith and Kinyata Johnson have filed suits against the Mississippi Organ Recovery Agency and the University of Mississippi Medical Center. While the suits seek unspecified damages, they claim the agency and hospital knowingly transplanted an infected organ into the recipients. Smith died after she developed encephalitis and suffered neurological damage. Johnson became more ill and requires constant care.

"Both defendants were aware that the kidney donor was infected with encephalitis before the subject kidney was transplanted into Ellecia,” the lawsuit said. “And as a result, Ellecia Small, developed severe encephalitis, neurological damage and died.”

A circuit court judge recently consolidated both cases for discovery, but they may be tried separately.

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Cathleen Flahardy

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