Ohio Transplant Program Violated State Standards Before Accident

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Last month, an Ohio medical facility botched an organ transplant when a nurse threw the donated kidney away with medical waste. The surgical error wasted the valuable donated organ and delayed the intended recipient’s transplant. News sources are now reporting on a history of problems at the facility, including a dramatically high rate of fatal transplant failures.

The center, located at the University of Toledo, has a history of problems with transplants. Although the transplant program received satisfactory inspection results as recently as 2009, a 2010 inspection revealed significant issues.

For example, the center had 22 graft failures-far more than the expected number of 13 failures. Each failure killed a patient. Another error involved verification procedures. Surgeons must work with another health professional to confirm that any given organ is compatible with the intended recipient. Records and interviews with hospital staff, however, showed that the facility was dangerously out of compliance with this requirement.

The 2010 inspection ultimately prohibited the facility from performing transplants. However, by August 2012, the program was operating once again. The disturbing August incident probably suggests that it had not yet resolved enough procedural issues. It is pretty hard to imagine how normal operations could result in a nurse simply throwing a viable human transplant organ into the trash. An investigation into this most recent incident is ongoing.

Source: Toledo Blade, “Fault found earlier with UTMC transplant program,” Sept. 16, 2012

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