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Ohio hospital faces lawsuit over botched transplant

An Ohio man and his family have filed a lawsuit against the University of Toledo Medical Center after the hospital mistakenly threw away a kidney the man donated to his sister for transplant. The lawsuit, which seeks damages of over $25,000, accuses the medical facility's staff of negligence. The hospital has denied responsibility and is currently petitioning a state court in the hope of having the case thrown out.

According to the lawsuit, a 24-year-old man underwent surgery in order to donate a working kidney to his then 24-year-old sister. The woman was suffering from severe renal disease, but was optimistic after learning that her brother was a perfect match for transplant. However, a UTM nurse put the kidney in the trash, making it unusable. While representatives for the hospital acknowledge the mistake, they contend that the plaintifffs still received a standard level of care.

The hospital also rejects the validity of the plaintifffs' claim that they are entitled to damages compensating them for pain and suffering. A representative with the Ohio Attorney General's Office, which is representing the publicly-funded hospital, asserted that state law only allows for adult children to seek compensation for loss for a parent.

Since the incident, the woman has been forced to undergo four operations and regular dialysis while she waits for another kidney. The plaintifffs' attorney chided hospital administrators, arguing that it is "obvious to everyone" that hospital staff acted negligently and offered substandard treatment.

While the hospital placed its surgical director on paid leave and suspended its transplant program, reporters say the doctor who performed the surgery remains employed at UTM. The nurse who threw away the kidney quickly resigned after the incident.

The legal system represents a much-needed resource for victims of surgical mistakes. Hospitals often refuse to admit wrongdoing after a patient is injured due the mistakes of a doctor or nurse, making it important for such individuals to have a means to seek justice and reparations.

Yahoo! News, "Ohio Transplant Victim Says Hospital Waster Brother's Kidney" Susan Donaldson James, Aug. 30, 2013

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