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Trials & Litigation

Family sues medical center, says kidney removed from sibling was trashed before planned transplant

Posted Jul 31, 2013 6:05 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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An Ohio family has sued the University of Toledo Medical Center, saying that the hospital "botched" the planned transplant of a kidney donated by one sibling to another sibling by mistakenly discarding the organ after it had been harvested.

A part-time nurse, not realizing that a "slush" machine contained the kidney, inadvertently discarded it after returning from a lunch break, says the state court complaint (PDF) filed this week by patient Sarah A. Fudacz's family. It appears from the suit that she was sedated for the surgery but was not operated on because of the loss of the kidney.

While she has since received another kidney from an unrelated donor, it was not the "perfect" match that a sibling kidney would have provided, and Fudacz's brother had a kidney removed without achieving the expected benefit of obtaining an organ for his sister, the suit says.

The suit, filed in the Court of Claims in Columbus, seeks damages on behalf of multiple members of the family, the Toledo Blade reports.

Citing patient confidentiality and pending litigation, the hospital declined to discuss the litigation specifically. However, in a written statement provided to WNWO, it said it had responded appropriately to the incident and taken measures to ensure patient safety.

"The University of Toledo Medical Center has created a unique environment of safety in our transplant and other programs that is second to none," the statement says. "Other hospitals and transplantation programs across the region and the country continue to learn from our experiences to improve patient safety and provide the highest levels of care.

"We are aware that a lawsuit has been filed. While we cannot discuss the specific health of our patients or pending litigation, we remain saddened by this unfortunate situation and express our deepest feelings to our patients and their families."

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