A nurse in the Toledo Medical Center accidentally disposed of a donated kidney, leading to the suspension of the organ donor program pending investigation.
On August 10th, a man donated a kidney to his older sister, but a nurse accidentally disposed of it with medical waste. Attempts were made to resuscitate the kidney after it was found, but unfortunately it was damaged beyond repair. Dr. Jeffrey Gold, chancellor and vice president for biosciences and health affairs at UTMC, the former Medical College of Ohio, said that the organ would normally have been implanted within an hour after donation. However, Dr. Gold also said that, after attempts to revive the kidney failed, “the physician in consultation with the family decided to not take the risk knowing there was a good chance for another highly compatible donor.”
Dr. William Harmon, director of kidney transplantation at Boston Children’s Hospital, said that this type of incident is unheard of in the world of organ transplant, but is a good reason to not use the kidney and wait for another donor.
Two operating-room staff nurses were suspended with pay after the incident. The hospital blames human error for disposing of the kidney improperly, leading to damage that prevented revival.
Dr. Gold has said, by way of apology, “The University cannot begin to express the sorrow that we feel that this unfortunate incident occurred. We apologize sincerely.”
Toby Klinger, the spokesperson for the University of Toledo Medical Center, also admitted that human error was responsible for damaging the kidney, but did not comment on the hospital’s investigation out of respect for the patients involved.
Both the donor and recipient have now been released from the hospital.
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