3690: A Journal of First-Year Student Research Writing

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Medical Errors




Overview: Time of Death: 5:07 p.m. – Proceeding the solemn afternoon of February 22nd 2003, the Santillian family listened on as doctors told them that their cherished loved one was officially pronounced brain dead and would soon have to be taken off life support. Two weeks prior to this, seventeen-year-old Jesica Santillian received the thrilling news that she had finally been matched with a heart-lung donor and would be admitted to Duke University Medical Center in early February for a double-organ transplant. After years of living in pain brought on by her failing organs, Jesica was supposed to be one of the lucky ones, that is, until an ill-fated call received an hour after the new organs had been put in turned her luck upside down. The call was from a technician in the immunology lab saying that something had gone terribly wrong; Jesica’s blood type, type O, did not match the blood type her new organs, which were type A. What that meant was that Jesica’s life was in serious danger because the antibodies in her blood would shortly start attacking and destroying her new organs. Two weeks and an odds-shattering second set of donated organs later, the near death teenager’s family said their last goodbyes as the medication that kept her heart going was discontinued and her heart took its last untimely beat seven minutes later (Kopp 1).

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