- OTSU, Japan, Dec. 11 (Kyodo) - The family of a patient suffering from a debilitating
brain illness will file a criminal complaint next week against two company
heads for allegedly importing and selling dried dura mater, the membrane
surrounding the brain and spinal chord, while knowing of its risks, the
family's attorney said Thursday.
- The Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD) patient's
husband, Sanichi Tani, 48, and his family plan to file the complaint Tuesday
against the heads of the Tokyo- based companies on suspicion of attempted
murder with the Tokyo District Prosecutors Office, Tani's attorney said.
- One of the companies is a defunct importer
while the other is responsible for selling the product, according to the
- Tani's 43-year-old wife, Takako, allegedly
contracted the illness after undergoing a dry dura mater transplant, due
to a spinal chord disease, at an Otsu municipal hospital in 1989.
- Last year, seven years after the operation,
Takako began complaining of weak eyesight, and later fell into a coma and
was diagnosed with CJD.
- Patients and relatives of CJD patients
have already filed damage suits against the state and companies at the
Otsu and Tokyo district courts.
- It will be the first case seeking criminal
responsibility over CJD.
- Tani, a dairy farmer in Shiga Prefecture,
western Japan, is also considering filing a criminal complaint against
Health and Welfare Ministry officials who were in charge of approving imports
and sales of dry dura mater, the attorney said.
- In November last year Tani filed a lawsuit
at the Otsu District Court against the state, the Otsu municipal government
and the two companies seeking 90 million yen in compensation.
- CJD, similar to Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy
or ''mad cow'' disease, causes a debilitating brain condition that affects
the central nervous system and finally leads to death. There is no known
cure at present.
- According to the ministry, there are
863 CJD patients nationwide. Among these, dura mater transplant operations
are alleged to be the cause of 46 cases.
- AP-NY-12-11-97 0932EST