Two employees of University Hospitals in Cleveland, Ohio, are on administrative leave as the hospital investigates how the mix-up happened.
CLEVELAND, OH — A patient at University Hospitals in Cleveland received a kidney intended for someone else, and two employees have been placed on leave, the hospital said Monday.
The error means transplant surgery has been delayed for the patient who had been designated to receive the kidney, the hospital said in a statement. The transplant patient who mistakenly received the kidney is compatible with the organ and is recovering as expected, according to the statement.
“We have offered our sincerest apologies to these patients and their families,” the hospital said. “We recognize they entrusted us with their care. The situation is entirely inconsistent with our commitment to helping patients return to health and live life to the fullest.”
The hospital did not say when the kidney mix-up occurred.
The two employees will remain on leave pending completion of an internal investigation, the hospital said.
The hospital said it is “carefully reviewing this situation to understand what led to the error and to ensure that such an event will never happen again.”
So far this year, University Hospitals has performed 95 kidney transplants, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network . Last year, 194 such procedures were performed.
The hospital said it had notified the network of the mistake.
Such organ transplant mix-ups are rare, Heather Mekesa, the chief operating office of the northeast Ohio nonprofit organ tissue and recovery organization Lifebanc, told news station WEWS. She said “99.9 percent of the time, this doesn’t happen, and organ donation truly does save lives.”
“This incredibly rare, uncommon mix-up shouldn’t deter anybody from signing up on that donor registry and giving someone a second chance if possible,” she said, noting the error occurred as more than 90,000 people are waiting for kidneys in the United States.
“The unfortunate circumstance is there are not enough donors out there to really get that list down,” Mekesa told WEWS. “And that’s so important.”
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