Ohio Kidney Transplant: Wrong Patient Receives Vital Organ

ohio kidney transplant wrong patient

Getty A surgeon operates on a kidney transplant patient.

The wrong patient received a kidney transplant at University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center in Ohio, placing the intended recipient back on the waiting list, ABC News 5 Cleveland reported.

The news outlet reported there were two kidney transplants scheduled at UH for July 2, 2021, and a kidney meant for one patient was transplanted into the wrong person.

“Fortunately, the person who received the wrong kidney seems to be accepting it and recovering, according to UH,” the news outlet reported. “Sources inside the hospital said the blood types were compatible.”

Here’s what you need to know:


The Medical Error Wasn’t Noticed Until the Second Patient’s Operation Began

The hospital told ABC News Cleveland that staff did not notice the error until the second operation had already started. The hospital would not tell the news station how far along they were in the surgery when they discovered the error. The second patient is now back on the waiting list for a kidney, ABC reported.

“Two ‘caregivers’ — UH would not disclose if they are doctors, nurses, or other staff — are off the job pending an investigation. As of this morning, UH was still telling patients that transplants were still happening as normal,” ABC News Cleveland reported July 14, 2021.

The error was reported to the United Network for Organ Sharing, which is the organization that oversees transplants in the United States, the news outlet reported. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services were also made aware of the problem, and told the news outlet they were reviewing the issue and “will take appropriate action after the review.”

ABC News Cleveland reported the hospital has not revealed details on how the error happened or answered “basic questions about the procedures.” Reporters asked for a “sit-down interview,” and reported that representatives have refused the request.


The Patient Who Received the Wrong Kidney Is Expected to Make a Full Recovery & the Surgery for the Original Patient Has Been Delayed

The patient who received the wrong kidney is expected to make a full recovery because the organ was compatible, Fox News reported. However, the patient who was supposed to receive the kidney will have a delayed surgery date, and the hospital did not say if another kidney was available for the patient or release any additional details about the patients, the news outlet reported.

University Hospitals in Cleveland spokesperson George Stamatis gave a statement to WOIO in Cleveland. It said:

We have offered our sincerest apologies to these patients and their families. We recognize they entrusted us with their care. The situation is entirely inconsistent with our commitment to helping patients return to health and live life to the fullest.

The University Hospitals Transplant Program is comprised of a highly qualified, multidisciplinary team of experts with decades of transplant care delivery and research experience. We are dismayed that an error recently occurred resulting in one patient receiving a kidney intended for another.

On average, kidney patients can be on a waiting list for five to 10 years waiting for a compatible kidney, according to UCLA. There are more than 100,000 patients on the waiting list, the report said. The wait time can be shortened through finding a compatible relative or friend who is willing to become a living donor.

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