The wife of a 40-year-old man who was a live donor of a kidney that was implanted into his 69-year-old father has filed a Florida medical malpractice lawsuit against the surgeon who performed the live kidney removal, and his medical practice, alleging that the defendant surgeon’s medical negligence led to the man’s bleeding death the following day. The kidney transplant surgery took place on April 16, 2015.
When the kidney donor’s blood pressure dropped after the removal of his left kidney, an exploratory laparotomy attempted to determine and address the source of the bleeding. Nonetheless, the donor died due to excessive bleeding.
The plaintiff alleges that her husband unnecessarily died as a result of the failure of a ligature binding the renal artery stump placed during the removal of the donor’s left kidney, as determined by an autopsy. The live kidney recipient (the father) remains in good health following the successful kidney transplant that was performed by another surgeon; the father is not a party to the Florida wrongful death lawsuit.
The live donor kidney transplant program at the hospital where the kidney transplant took place has been placed on hold since the death of the man. However, the hospital was not named as a defendant in the widow’s medical malpractice wrongful death lawsuit.
On December 2, 2015, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN) announced that its Board of Directors had placed the Florida transplant hospital, Gulf Coast Medical Center located in Fort Myers, Florida, on probation, for noncompliance with OPTN policies or bylaws, or a serious lapse in patient safety or quality of care. The OPTN is the national transplant network established by the National Organ Transplant Act of 1984 and federal regulation. All transplant centers, organ procurement organizations, and independent histocompatibility laboratories in the U.S. are OPTN members and are subject to the OPTN’s authority.
Probation is a public designation indicating that an OPTN member institution is undergoing extensive corrective action for compliance with OPTN requirements, or for a situation that, if left uncorrected, could pose a risk to the health and safety of transplant patients, living donors, or other members of the public.
The Florida hospital voluntarily and temporarily ceased performing living donor kidney transplant procedures following the death of the kidney donor discussed above, after which a peer review of the hospital’s kidney transplant program revealed concerns with its processes for evaluation of potential living donors (the hospital was allowed to continue to provide kidney transplant services involving deceased donors).
The OPTN does not have the authority to close a member institution or remove it from the OPTN network. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has sole authority to consider or take an action involving involuntary closure or suspension of an OPTN member institution or potential removal of the member’s ability to receive Medicare or Medicaid funding.
If you or a loved one may have been injured (or worse) as a result of an organ transplant gone wrong in the United States, you should promptly seek the legal advice of a local medical malpractice attorney who may assist you in investigating your organ transplant malpractice claim and represent you in a medical malpractice case, if appropriate.
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