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NY hospital nearly took organs from living woman; fined $6,000

Associated Press

Published: Sunday, July 7 2013 10:47 a.m. MDT

A central New York hospital has been fined after doctors nearly harvested organs from a woman in 2009 despite warning signs she wasn't dead.

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SYRACUSE, N.Y. — A central New York hospital has been fined after doctors nearly harvested organs from a woman in 2009 despite warning signs she wasn't dead.

The Syracuse Post-Standard reports the 41-year-old opened her eyes as she was being prepared for surgery by St. Joseph's Hospital Health Center doctors who told her family she was dead after a drug overdose. Relatives agreed to take her off life support and allow the donation.

Records the newspaper obtained under state freedom of information laws document a series of missteps, including doctors ignoring nurses' observations the woman was responding to stimuli and trying to breathe on her own. The surgery was called off when she opened her eyes.

The woman recovered.

The Syracuse hospital was fined $6,000 and says it has modified its policies.

Information from: The Post-Standard, http://www.syracuse.com

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