Texas Surgeon Is Accused of Secretly Denying Liver Transplants

For decades, Dr. J. Steve Bynon Jr., a transplant surgeon in Texas, gained accolades and national prominence for his work, including by helping to enforce professional standards in the country’s sprawling organ transplant system.

But officials are now investigating allegations that Dr. Bynon was secretly manipulating a government database to make some of his own patients ineligible to receive new livers, potentially depriving them of lifesaving care.

Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center in Houston, where Dr. Bynon oversaw both the liver and kidney transplant programs, abruptly shut down those programs in the past week while looking into the allegations.

On Thursday, the medical center, a teaching hospital affiliated with the University of Texas, said in a statement that a doctor in its liver transplant program had admitted to changing patient records. That effectively denied the transplants, the hospital said. Officials identified the physician as Dr. Bynon, who is employed by the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston and has had a contract to lead Memorial Hermann’s abdominal transplant program since 2011.

It was not clear what could have motivated Dr. Bynon. Reached by phone on Thursday, he referred questions to UTHealth Houston, which declined to comment. Dr. Bynon did not confirm he had admitted to altering records.

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