The University of Toledo Medical Center (“UTMC”) in Ohio acknowledges that its nurse threw out as trash the healthy donor kidney that a brother had lovingly donated to his ailing sister but contests that it was negligent in doing so. UTMC is requesting that the medical malpractice lawsuit filed against it be dismissed because it maintains that the standard of care was not breached and that the brother and sister should not be allowed to recover for the pain and suffering they experienced as a result of the trashed donor kidney incident.
The university’s chancellor and dean of the College of Medicine had issued a statement at the time of the unbelievable screw-up that stated, “We cannot fathom the disappointment that those impacted have experienced over the course of the last week. The university cannot begin to express the sorrow that we feel that this unfortunate incident occurred. We apologize sincerely.”
The fallout from the botched procedure included the temporary suspension of UTMC’s live-donor transplant program (which has since resumed), the transplant center’s administrator of surgical services being placed on paid administrative leave, the resignation of the part-time nurse who had accidentally thrown out the donated kidney, and the firing of the nurse who had relieved the part-time nurse. The nurse who was fired has since filed a lawsuit against UTMC alleging wrongful discharge, defamation, slander, and libel.
The 24-year-old sister was in end-stage renal failure when it was determined that her 17-year-old brother was a kidney donor match. Her brother unselfishly volunteered to donate one of his healthy kidneys to his sister. Both the donor surgery and the transplant surgery were to take place at UTMC in August 2012. After the donor kidney was removed, it was placed in a protective slush where it was to remain for the short period of time before it would be implanted into the sister. A nurse negligently threw out the slush, which included the healthy kidney. When they realized what had happened, physicians attempted to salvage the donor kidney but it could not be transplanted into the sister.
The sister was already under anesthesia when the mishap occurred. She awoke to find that she did not have the anticipated incision at the site where the donated kidney would have been transplanted into her body. Both the sister and her brother were devastated to learn about the wasted kidney and what they both had endured for no benefit. The sister had to endure dialysis and four surgeries before a successful kidney transplant was performed at another medical facility in November 2012.
Despite the later successful kidney transplant, the transplanted kidney was not as close of a match as the brother’s kidney, which increases the risk of rejection and the need for another kidney transplant sometime in the future.
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