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DOH, hospital ordered to correct transplant policies

TAIPEI -- The Department of Health (DOH) and National Taiwan University Hospital have been told to correct their organ transplant policies in light of a case last year involving AIDS-infected organs being accidentally transplanted into five patients, according to the official website of the Control Yuan yesterday.

In a decision made in September, but only posted on its website Thursday, the Control Yuan, the nation's supreme ombudsman, said the Health Department has failed to supervise properly the operation of the Taiwan Organ and Sharing Center, a private entity set up by the department to coordinate the supply of organs.

Noting that the center has been headed by several different vice health ministers due to frequent reshuffles within the department, the Control Yuan said that the Health Department is both the supervisor and operator of the center, which the watchdog body said was a flaw in the system.

The Control Yuan also blamed the Taipei-based hospital for failing to require its Organ Procurement Team to double check the results of tests carried out on donated organs.

Also, the Control Yuan said, the team's telephone communication skills need improvement, as mistakes are often made.

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