Healthcare News & Insights

Hospital that threw away kidney resumes transplants

Back in August it was reported that a kidney removed from a Toledo man, who was donating it to his older sister, somehow got thrown away with the medical waste by a nurse. What was touted as a rare mistake, caused the University of Toledo Medical Center (UTMC) to voluntarily suspended its live kidney transplant program. But there is good news for the new year: The hospital is resuming its live kidney transplants.

After a number of reviews and policy changes, the hospital’s decision to restart the program was affirmed last week by the United Network of Organ Sharing.

Officials believe that the procedural changes that have taken place at UTMC will prevent mistakes like this from ever happening in the future.

Learned from mistake

The Associated Press reported that Dr. Jeffrey Gold, chancellor and executive vice president for health affairs at the university, said that while the journey has been difficult, it has definitely made the facility stronger and safer.

Dr. Gold also noted that due to privacy laws, the man who donated the kidney and his sister haven’t been named. But the hospital is staying in contact with the family and is committed to their medical care.

The hospital also put two nurses and an administrator of surgical services on paid leave after the mishap.

 Baffling mistake

The hospital’s transplant program was examined by a outside consultant/surgeon, who found no problems with the systems or the culture at the hospital. Nothing indicated to the surgeon that such a mistake could ever take place.

It would seem that many people at UTMC and outside the organization are baffled by the accident.

Another report conducted by the state for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) said poor oversight and communication, and insufficient policies were factors in the kidney’s disposal.

Hopefully, this rare screwup won’t hurt the facility’s reputation too much. Up until then UTMC had performed approximately 1,700 kidney transplants in the past 40 years, with a 98 percent success rate.

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