A medical center in Toledo, Ohio, has temporarily suspended its living donor kidney transplant program after a nurse accidentally threw out a kidney taken from a live donor, which was supposed to go to the donor’s sister.
The incident, which happened in early August at the University of Toledo Medical Center (UTMC), occurred after a brother volunteered to donate a kidney to his older sister, who was in need of one. The siblings were a perfect (six-antigen) match. However, after the kidney removal surgery, a nurse inadvertently disposed of the man’s kidney, which was later found among medical waste.
Physicians attempted for more than two hours to resuscitate the kidney after it was discovered in the trash, but efforts to revive the organ were unsuccessful. “Efforts were made to restore the kidney to a usable state, however, the physician in consultation with the family decided to not take the risk knowing there was a good chance for another highly compatible donor,” Jeffrey Gold, chancellor and vice president for biosciences and health affairs at UTMC, said in a statement.
The transplant patient will not get any special consideration because of the unfortunate situation, but will be placed on the national kidney waiting list like any other patient, according to a spokesperson for the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS). A complex algorithm is used to determine positions on the waiting list, and patients are not given preferential treatment for botched procedures.
It was unclear just how the error happened, but two operating room nurses have been suspended from their jobs pending the investigation. UTMC announced its own internal investigation, but it is likely that other agencies will become involved as well.