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Teen near death after transplant error



Published: Thu, February 20, 2003 @ 12:00 a.m.



Teen near deathafter transplant error

DURHAM, N.C. -- A teenager from Mexico whose family moved to the United States so she could get a heart and lung transplant was near death Monday after mistakenly receiving organs from a donor with a different blood type.

"This was a tragic error, and we accept responsibility for our part," said Dr. William Fulkerson, chief executive officer of Duke University Hospital, in a statement released Monday night. "This is an especially sad situation since we intended this operation to save the life of a girl whose prognosis was grave."

Jesica Santillam, 17, suffers from a heart deformity that prevents her lungs from pumping enough oxygen into her blood. After a three-year wait, she received a transplant on Feb. 7 with a heart and lungs flown in from Boston.

Jesica remained in critical condition Monday, a hospital spokesman said. Mack Mahoney, a family friend, said she was not expected to live more than a few days.

Virginia flag bill dies

RICHMOND, Va. -- A bill in the Virginia Legislature that promotes the flag of the former South Vietnam died in a subcommittee after federal officials warned lawmakers it could damage relations between the United States and Vietnam.

Sen. Malfourd Trumbo said Monday that the bill will not face a vote before Monday's midnight deadline for action.

The measure sparked concern among officials in Vietnam and the State Department after it passed the House of Delegates last month. State Department officials urged several legislators to kill the bill.

In a Feb. 5 letter addressed to bill sponsor Del. Robert Hull, Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage said the legislation could have "potentially serious adverse consequences" on the way the United States conducts foreign policy, and could encourage similar action by other aggrieved ethnic groups living in the United States.

Shooting in Afghanistan

BAGRAM, Afghanistan -- U.S. special forces troops came under fire in eastern Afghanistan but were not hurt, a military spokesman said today.

The incident occurred Monday afternoon near Asadabad, 100 miles northeast of the capital Kabul, said Col. Roger King, a military spokesman at Bagram Air Base.

"The fire was ineffective and the U.S. forces broke contact," King said. It was not clear how many enemy fighters were involved in the shooting.

He said the troops kept driving and did not shoot back because they didn't know where the fire came from.

"They had nothing to shoot at. They had nothing to engage," King said. "You have two choices, you could stop and fight or you could get out of the area. Easiest thing to do is get out of the area."

The Kunar province, where Asadabad is located, is believed to be a stronghold of renegade rebel fighter Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, who is being targeted by U.S. Special Forces along with Taliban and Al-Qaida fugitives.

Girl, 9, is pregnant

MANAGUA, Nicaragua -- A government board was studying whether a 9-year-old girl could carry a baby to term safely while considering her family's request to have an abortion.

The girl's parents said she was raped in Costa Rica and have asked for the government's approval to give her an abortion.

Abortion is allowed in Nicaragua in cases of sexual abuse, when the mother's life is in danger, and when the fetus has severe deformities. All must be confirmed by three separate specialists and a government medical board must give its approval.

It was unclear how far along the girl was in her pregnancy. In interviews with local television stations, she said she did not want to have a baby because she didn't want to share her toys with other children.

Cardinal Miguel Obando y Bravo on Sunday asked that every effort be made to save the girl and her baby. He said he had spoken with doctors who told him she could safely carry the baby to term.

Associated Press




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