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2 suing South Dakota eye and tissue bank after transplants

SIOUX FALLS (AP) -- Two young Palestinians are suing a Sioux Falls-based eye and tissue bank, alleging they were provided infected corneas for transplant that have caused them both eye problems.

SIOUX FALLS (AP) - Two young Palestinians are suing a Sioux Falls-based eye and tissue bank, alleging they were provided infected corneas for transplant that have caused them both eye problems.

Because of the infected corneas, the lawsuit says a 19-year-old woman became blind in her right eye and a 17-year-old man's vision is threatened in both eyes.

The federal lawsuit also targets Minnesota-based American Donor Services, which harvested the corneas after the donor died in July 2015, the Argus Leader reported Tuesday.

The lawsuit alleges that 58-year-old Minnesota resident James Watten's organs were harvested after his body had remained in a hot temperature for an "unreasonably long period of time." The high for that day in Duluth was 85 degrees, and Watten's apartment had poor air flow, according to the document.

The tissue went to the South Dakota Lions Eye and Tissue Bank before reaching the transplant team in July 2015. The lawsuit says both defendants had access to test results showing the corneas were infected, but didn't try to recall the tissue or notify the transplant team.

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American Donor Services declined to comment, while the tissue bank didn't return a message from the newspaper.

The lawsuit says the 19-year-old woman is no longer "suitable for meaningful marriage in Palestinian culture" because of the failed transplant. The 17-year-old has also been deemed "unworthy" in his Palestinian community, according to the document.

A South Dakota attorney representing them declined to comment.

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