Software ‘Glitch’ Reveals Names of Deceased Organ Donors to 410 Recipients
A software "glitch" at the University of Minnesota last month revealed the names of deceased kidney donors to the 410 recipients of their kidneys, a "serious violation of patient confidentiality and medical ethics," the AP/Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports. The university mistakenly included the names of the donors in some of the form letters sent to about 1,200 transplant recipients who have participated in study to assess the health of living kidney donors and recipients. New software installed to generate form letters mailed Dec. 29 and Dec. 30 to individuals listed in a database of transplant patients did not suppress the names of deceased donors. "It clearly is a breach," Susan Gunderson, CEO of LifeSource, the organization that coordinates the organ donation system in Minnesota, said. Gunderson added that confidentiality "is a core component of the donation process." The university and LifeSource have contacted recipients and asked them not to contact relatives of donors. They also have informed the families of deceased donors about the incident. In addition, the university has reported the incident to the NIH, which funded the study, and has informed an internal review board at the university. University officials have removed the names of deceased donors from the database to prevent future incidents, Richard Bianco, the university's vice president of regulatory affairs, said (AP/Minneapolis Star-Tribune, 1/15).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.