Sign up now for ease of access to The Medical Independent, Ireland’s most frequently published medical newspaper, delivering award-winning news and investigative reporting.

  • receive the eCopy two days prior to the printed edition.
  • can partake in our online MCQs.
  • can enter our online sports quiz. is Ireland's only investigative medical news website for doctors, healthcare professionals and anyone with an interest in health issues.

Established in 2010, along with its sister publication The Medical Independent, our stated aim is to investigate and analyse the major issues affecting healthcare and the medical profession in Ireland. The Medical Independent has won a number of awards for its investigative journalism, and its stories are frequently picked up by national digital, broadcast and print media. The Medical Independent is published by GreenCross Publishing.

Address: Top Floor, 111 Rathmines Road Lr, Dublin 6

Tel: 353 (01) 441 0024

GreenCross Publishing is owned by Graham Cooke.

Patients at risk of missing out on transplants due to equipment failures, warned medical director

By Mindo - 01st Mar 2019 | 17 views

Catherine Reilly

The risk of patients missing out on essential transplants due to the increasing breakdown of outdated equipment at the National Histocompatibility and Immunogenetics Service for Solid Organ Transplantation (NHISSOT) was highlighted as a “major concern” by its medical director recently.

In January 2019, Dr Mary Keogan, Consultant Immunologist and Medical Director of the NHISSOT, based at Beaumont Hospital, wrote to hospital CEO Mr Ian Carter stating that the service was “experiencing significant downtime” of both of its flow cytometers “and worryingly we have had times when both machines are non-functional and we are unable to provide a crossmatching service”.

“Luckily when this has occurred to-date there has not been a donor and so no patient has been harmed. However, the risk of patients missing out on essential transplants, and particularly for cardiothoracic organs being exported, is a major concern.”

Dr Keogan’s correspondence, cc-ed to the HSE Deputy National Director of Acute Operations Ms Angela Fitzgerald, stated that “we have been flagging the perilous state of this equipment for several years at every management review and have undertaken every step of which we have been advised”.

One flow cytometer is over 25 years old and the other has been in Beaumont for over 15 years and was not new when acquired. Such equipment generally has a life span of seven-to-10 years, according to the correspondence obtained from the HSE under Freedom of Information legislation.

A replacement machine costs around €100,000 and an extra €12,000-€32,000 with a plate reader, according to a business case by the NHISSOT in 2018 for Beaumont’s Non-Pay Committee.

“When the two flow cytometers are out of service due to unscheduled repairs, no crossmatching is available. This downtime risks a serious impact on the kidney, pancreas, heart, lung and living donor programmes, as a longwaiting, highly sensitised patient may miss out on their only chance of transplantation and there is a possibility of organs being exported. When the opportunity of a heart/lung transplant is lost, particularly for a highly sensitised patient, there is a risk of death on the waiting list.”

At press time, a Beaumont Hospital spokesperson said “cytometers equipment already ordered with anticipated delivery date in March 2019”.

Leave a Reply

Latest Issue
medical news
The Medical Independent 19th May 2022

You need to be logged in to access this content. Please login or sign up using the links below.

Most Read