In August, an Ohio man decided to give his sister the ultimate gift — a kidney — but something went horribly wrong. After the kidney was removed from the donor, it was inadvertently thrown away by a nurse, along with the brother’s hope of helping his sick sister.
A lengthy report by the Ohio Department of Health revealed that communication errors and failure to abide by hospital guidelines resulted in the costly surgical error, which occurred Aug. 10 at the University of Toledo Medical Center.
According to the report, what happened is that one nurse was present when the kidney was removed from the donor, cleaned and placed in a machine for safe keeping. That nurse then went on break and failed to tell the relieving nurse that the kidney was in the machine.
The second nurse then removed the contents of machine, including the kidney, and flushed them down a hopper that is used to dispose of liquid waste. The report pointed out that other staff members in the operating room, including the first nurse, should have noticed and stopped the second nurse from throwing away the kidney.
Following the incident, the first nurse was fired for violating hospital policy because she did not inform the second nurse about what was going on before she went on break. The second nurse resigned after being put on leave.
The University of Toledo Medical Center also suspended its live kidney donor program and implemented two new policies in effort to prevent a disaster like this from happening again. Even so, it is likely that the hospital could face a medical malpractice lawsuit as a result of the Aug. 16 incident.
Source: Toledo Blade, “Disciplinary records provide new details on botched kidney transplant operation at UTMC,” Jennifer Feehan, Sept. 26, 2012