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Duke reaches settlement with Jesica Santillan's family; terms sealed.

Duke University Health System has reached a settlement with the family of Jesica Santillan, the Mexican teenager who died on February 22, 2003 after receiving a mismatched blood type heart-lung transplant.

Duke pediatric transplant surgeon James Jaggers, MD, who had know Jesica for 2 years and performed the transplant, took full responsibility for accepting the mismatched organs.

The terms of the settlement were sealed but included an agreement that neither the hospital nor the family is allowed to comment. Jesica's mother Magdalena did not file a lawsuit saying she did not want to relive the ordeal in a courtroom.

Duke offered a settlement immediately following the death which would have established a $4 million health care fund in Jesica's name for treating Hispanic children but the offer was rejected.

Lawyers for Duke continued to negotiate, however, and the end result was the agreement reached on June 30th.

William J. Fulkerson, MD, chief executive officer of Duke University Hospital, called the settlement "fair and equitable" for both sides.

Here is the full statement issued by Fulkerson:

"Duke University Health System and the family of Jesica Santillan have reached a settlement. Under order of the court, the agreement is sealed and neither Duke University and its representatives nor Ms. Santillan and hers are permitted to discuss the specifics of the agreement. We believe the agreement the court has approved is fair and equitable for both the Santillan family and for Duke.

"We mourn the death of Jesica Santillan and remain committed to learning from this tragedy to benefit others. Duke University Health System has established additional patient-safety programs to ensure that the procedural errors that occurred in this case cannot be repeated. Equally important, the safety of the nation's organ transplant system has been significantly strengthened. All who will receive life-saving organ transplants in the future will benefit from these important changes."
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Title Annotation:Duke University Health System
Publication:Transplant News
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jun 30, 2004
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