NATION : Doctors’ Slip Costs Liver Donor Her Spleen During Transplant

From Times Wire Services

Doctors performing a historic liver transplant operation involving a living donor today accidentally damaged the donor’s spleen and were forced to remove it.

The spleen of Terri Smith, 29, of Schertz, Tex., was damaged as doctors removed a portion of her liver to implant in her 21-month-old daughter, Alyssa, who suffers from biliary atresia, a spokesman for the University of Chicago Hospital said.

A retractor came loose during surgery and hit the spleen, said Dr. Peter Whitington, director of pediatric transplant services. The spleen was then removed, forcing a delay in preparations for Alyssa’s surgery.

The loss of the spleen will not adversely affect Smith, doctors said.

Doctors said they expect the surgery on the youngster to continue into the evening.