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HIV-infected organs given to patients at Taiwan hospital

Employee heard wrong message on phone leading to mistake

A hospital in Taiwan mistakenly transplanted HIV-infected organs into five patients, the Associated Press reports. The organs all came from one patient who died last week.

A staff member at National Taiwan University Hospital, one of the country's best regarded hospitals, did the transplants after hearing the wrong message on the telephone. He thought he heard the phrase "non-reactive," but the actual word given was "reactive," according to a hospital statement.

The hospital procedure to double-check the test result was not done.

"We deeply apologize for the mistake," a hospital statement said.

An official from the hospital in Taipei told AP the five patients are now being treated with anti-AIDS drugs.

Health department official Shih Chung-liang said officials will look into the incident and decide how to handle the situation and whether to punish the hospital. The hospital has until the end of Tuesday to produce a detailed report on the incident, Voice of America reports.

Doctors told VOA the patients will probably contract the disease. The patients' treatment will be complicated because they must take medicine to stop their bodies from rejecting their new organs, Sky News reports.

A health official in the city where the patient who died lived, Yao Ke-wu, called the transplant incident a result of "appalling negligence."

This article originally appeared on GlobalPost.

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