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Medical Errors Can Lead To Positive Changes

After a medical mistake, patients who were injured by negligent doctors may be frustrated to learn that nothing has changed after reporting the error. The same doctors may still be practicing and possibly putting patients at risk of injury. However, in many medical malpractice cases, bringing attention to the problem can actually help make positive changes and possibly save other patients from similar errors in the future. 

Kidney Donation Ruined After Mix-Up

A kidney donation can mean life for someone suffering renal failure or other kidney-related conditions. Before a kidney can be transplanted, a donor kidney must be found. Some people can turn to family members and ask for a donated kidney. Most people can live a full life on just one kidney and for some, there may be no question. 

A patient at the University of Toledo Medical Center (UTMC) went in for a kidney removal to be transplanted into his sister. A kidney for transplantation is generally placed in a stainless steel train and taken for tests. Normally, the kidney would have to be implanted within an hour or so of the removal. However, the kidney was nowhere to be found. 

After more than an hour, the kidney was found disposed of with other medical waste. After multiple attempts to revive the organ, the kidney was determined to be unusable. According to the medical center, a nurse inadvertently tossed out the kidney thinking it was part of the medical waste to be disposed of.  

The medical center said this was an uncommon situation but there may be no way to know how often donor organs are thrown away accidentally. It is not uncommon that organs are determined to be unusable for various reasons, just like the doctors found in this case after retrieving the organ from the waste.

Medical Center Makes Changes After Surgery Gone Wrong

After a failed kidney surgery the things could have gone back to normal with nothing changed. However, UTMC put into place new safeguards to prevent this type of mix-up from happening again. The prior stainless steel bin has been replaced with a square plastic box marked “donor kidney,” exclusively to be used for organs awaiting transplant. 

Another change includes nothing leaving the operating room until the patient has been removed. Members of the surgical team cannot leave without checking with the surgeons to go on break. A new motion detector can also trigger an alarm if anyone opens the ice slush machine (where the prior kidney was stored). 

After a Surgical Error

Not long ago, a kidney was transplanted into the wrong patient at a New Jersey hospital. According to the National Kidney Foundation, there are more than 100,000 awaiting kidney transplants in the U.S. A mistake with the donor kidney not only injures the donor but it also takes another kidney away from someone waiting for a kidney.

Doctors should be held accountable for their mistakes, just like anyone else. The skilled medical malpractice attorneys at Gilman & Bedigian fight to get compensation for injured patients and their families. Contact our law office online or by calling (800) 529-6162.

About the Author

Briggs Bedigian
Briggs Bedigian

H. Briggs Bedigian (“Briggs”) is a founding partner of Gilman & Bedigian, LLC.  Prior to forming Gilman & Bedigian, LLC, Briggs was a partner at Wais, Vogelstein and Bedigian, LLC, where he was the head of the firm’s litigation practice.  Briggs’ legal practice is focused on representing clients involved in medical malpractice and catastrophic personal injury cases. 


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