Trashed Kidney Leads to Suit Against UTMC

A part-time nurse from a university hospital threw away a kidney earmarked for transplant to a 24-year-old patient, prompting a medical malpractice suit against the hospital.

Donating a kidney to someone with end-stage renal disease is tantamount to giving the recipient a new lease in life, especially if it is a perfect match. This was what was supposed to happen to siblings Paul and Sarah Fudacz from Ohio. Sarah, 24 years old, was supposed to get a kidney from her brother to get her off the dialysis machine, but by some horrible oversight the newly-removed kidney was thrown out with the contents of a slush machine used during the extraction procedure at the University of Toledo Medical Center (UTMC). The nurse has since resigned.

The Fudacz family filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against UTMC, citing the pain and suffering the family had to go through from the wasted sacrifice and pain of Paul, the continued ill-health of Sarah, and the uncertainty of the family finding a suitable replacement kidney in time to save Sarah’s life. UTMC admits the error but maintains that the hospital did not have a substandard quality of medical care. There is some question whether the family has a legal basis for the claim under Ohio law.

UTMC has since stepped up the quality of health care and level of patient safety.

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