SF surgeon seeks law fix to do transplant from HIV-infected donor

Dr. Peter Stock, a UCSF transplant surgeon, visits the state Capitol to press for passage of the bill.Photo: Steve German, Special To The Chronicle
SF GATE | Melanie Gutierrez

SACRAMENTO — A San Francisco surgeon preparing to perform a life-saving liver transplant from an HIV-positive donor to an HIV-positive patient ran up against an unexpected problem this month. The procedure, although allowed under federal law, is illegal in California.

On Wednesday, UCSF transplant surgeon Peter Stock stood before a group of lawmakers at the state Capitol and pleaded for an immediate law change that would allow him to try to save his patient’s life. And legislators are rushing to fix the California law this week in hopes that the change comes before it’s too late.

“We had been given the green light to proceed less than a month ago from the institutional review board,” Stock told The Chronicle. “Everything came to a halt when we found out it’s still illegal in California.”

SB1408 would delete a provision in California law that makes it a crime — punishable by up to six years in prison — for a person with HIV or AIDS to donate blood or organs under any circumstance, even if it is to help a person already infected with the virus. The bill would allow transplants from HIV-positive donors to HIV-positive recipients and ensures the state Medical Board can’t penalize doctors for conducting such procedures. Continue reading
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