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Surgical errors led to throwing away kidney prior to transplant

When a nurse throws away an organ being used in an organ transplant surgery, the hospital involved can be accused of negligence. In one recent case where this reportedly occurred, the allegations involve the donor of the kidney being the patient's brother. A nurse supposedly threw away a perfect transplant match right before it was needed for the surgery, which had already begun. In Maryland, that kind of negligence may well support a claim for medical malpractice based on surgical errors.

Thankfully, the woman eventually got another kidney and she had a successful operation last November. The patient and her family members have now filed a lawsuit against the university medical center where the fiasco reportedly took place. The university's response has been to deny substandard services. At this point, it doesn't appear that the hospital is prepared to negotiate a settlement with the family.

The University of Toledo Medical Center admitted surgical errors and at least a lack of proper communication in its answer by agreeing that it threw the kidney away, but denied substandard care. The hospital is also challenging claims by the victim's family to recover damages for pain and suffering. The general rule is that an immediate family member can collect pain and suffering for having to witness a loved one suffering terrible injury or death from someone else's negligence. The issue is widely debated and will have to await the development of the facts and testimony to see if the family can prevail.

After the surgical errors and the allegedly botched surgery up until the successful later one, the patient suffered through painful dialysis and four painful surgeries. She had to suffer the uncertainty of not knowing whether she would survive and get a transplant. Under Maryland law, similar facts could generally establish a failure to act with the due care that is minimally expected of a medical practitioner or provider in this area of practice and under these circumstances.

Source: ABC News, Toledo Hospital Threw Out Donor Kidney, Now Denies Negligence, Susan Donaldson James, Aug. 29, 2013

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