Donated Kidney from Brother Accidentally Put in Trash During Kidney Transplant Surgery

September 24, 2012

Medical Malpractice

medical malpractice in OhioA Toledo family is likely to file a medical malpractice lawsuit against staff members of the University of Toledo Medical Center (UTMC) due to the accidental destruction of a kidney from a live donor that was slated for transplant to the donor’s sister.

The incident which resulted in suspension of the living kidney transplant program at the Ohio medical center, formerly the Medical College of Ohio, happened when a nurse accidentally threw out the kidney with medical waste.  The kidney was no longer usable after it was located.

Similar programs have been shut down in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Texas due to problems with procedures.  The nurse at UTMC was suspended with pay.

Because UTMC is a state agency (the university and the hospital merged in 2006), there could be restrictions on financial recovery if any case is filed.  Although the medical staff has admitted negligence, citing “human error,” as state employees, the staff members could get civil immunity and be unable to be named as parties in any lawsuit.

However, if family members and the intended recipient of the organ elect to file a medical malpractice suit in the state Court of Claims, an appointed judge would hear the case and could decide the state entity can be held liable for the mistake.  If that were the case, there would be no cap on compensatory damages.

In a case such as this in Ohio, the plaintiffs have one year “after the cause of action accrues” to file a medical malpractice action.

Medical malpractice occurs when a medical professional fails to provide the quality of care that should be reasonably expected under the circumstances.  As a result of negligence, ignorance, or intentional wrongdoing, a patient is harmed.  Here, there was likely harm to the donor and resulting stress, but harm done to the intended recipient could be catastrophic, particularly if no other suitable kidney is found.

The hospital stated that the mishap will not give the individual still in need of a kidney any priority over others awaiting a similar transplant.

The Toledo residents could never have guessed such a grievous error would be committed during the transplant operation involving their family members, but bizarre things sometimes happen and medical malpractice in Ohio is a reality.  Claims can involve complex litigation (particularly if one party claims immunity from suit), negotiations with corporate entities and dealing with large insurance companies.

When you face such litigation, you will need experienced Ohio personal injury attorneys who will know in which court to file your action and who you can trust to recover maximum compensation for your injuries.

Please contact Slater & Zurz LLP at 1-800-297-9191 for a free consultation to determine if medical malpractice has been committed.  You may also send us a message from our website at

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About slaterzurz

Slater & Zurz LLP is an Ohio law firm of highly experienced and respected attorneys. Over the last 40 years, we have developed a reputation for getting positive results for clients. We've been trusted with handling over 20,000 personal injury cases and our clients have received more than $120,000,000.

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