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Hospital admits transplanting kidney to wrong patient

A patient at University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center received a kidney transplant intended for another person. The hospital is now investigating how the the mix-up happened and two caregivers have been placed on administrative leave, CBS affiliate WOIO reports.

“We are dismayed that an error recently occurred resulting in one patient receiving a kidney intended for another. The kidney is compatible and the patient is recovering as expected. Another patient’s transplant surgery has been delayed,” University Hospitals said in a statement obtained by WOIO.

The hospital said it is carefully reviewing the situation and has notified the United Network for Organ Sharing, which manages the national organ transplant system. 

The hospital also said it has apologized to the families and that this “situation is entirely inconsistent with our commitment to helping patients return to health and live life to the fullest.” CBS News has reached out to the hospital system for more information and is awaiting response. 

Such errors are rare but have happened before — such as a 2019 incident when a hospital in New Jersey mixed up two patients waiting for kidney transplants. In that case, the two patients had the same name and were similar in age. Fortunately, the kidney did turn out to be a match. Had the organ been transplanted into someone who was not a match, the result could have been deadly.

About 39,000 organ transplants were performed the U.S. in 2020 — the majority of them kidney transplants, according to the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration. It also reports there were nearly 107,000 Americans on waiting lists for a transplant.

The U.S. has the highest-performing organ donation and transplant system in the world, even in the midst of a global pandemic, according to the United Network for Organ Sharing, a private, nonprofit organization that manages the U.S. organ transplantation system under contract with the federal government.



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