Caroselli, Beachler & Coleman, L.L.C.

Botched kidney transplant occurs at Pittsburgh facility

The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) program is under review after a botched transplant procedure where a patient mistakenly received a diseased kidney. A miscommunication between staff members is what's being blamed for the mistake.

UPMC faces 1-year of probation and will be required to complete a corrective action plan to hopefully prevent such errors from occurring in the future. The center, by the way, had also suspended its kidney and liver transplant this past May after a kidney transplant caused a patient to contract Hepatitis C. Any changes that UPMC does put into place will also require monitoring for at least the year in which they are on probation.

The kidney transplant procedure is extremely invasive for both the donor and recipient. The recipient views the transplant as a life saving procedure. The recipient no doubt would be horrified to discover that he now may have to go through a second transplant procedure because the first one was botched.

However, the donor would be equally shocked knowing that the good deed he wished to perform was wasted as a result of a miscommunication by hospital staff. The decision to donate a kidney is not made lightly and is usually done in the hopes of saving the life of an individual that the donor very much cares about.

Sanctions as those brought upon UPMC may force the medical transplant provider to implement better procedures to insure that such a mistake is not made again. However, sanctions may do nothing to compensate victims that are injured because the procedure was conducted negligently. Institutions that provide such transplants should be held accountable to the victims for their mistakes.

Source: Pittsburgh Business Times, "UPMC transplant program on probation," by Kris B. Mamula, Nov. 15, 2011

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