Hospital Throws Away Kidney and Denies Negligence

Surgical errors can take many unexpected forms. On August 10, 2012, Sarah Fudacz went into the University of Toledo Medical Center to receive a life-saving kidney from her brother, Paul Fudacz. She had been suffering kidney problems for seven years and was in desperate need of a new kidney. As it turns out, her brother was the perfect match. They were worried about the procedure, but assumed they were in good hands. Paul was put under anesthetic, and Dr. Michael Rees removed Paul’s kidney, preparing to transplant it into Sarah. While they were preparing Sarah, the kidney was placed in a slush-filled cooler. A nurse that had just come on shift took the cooler and emptied it into a hopper that was designed to dispose of medical waste. When the hospital realized what had happened, they had a maintenance worker break into the disposal drain pipe and retrieve the kidney. By that time, however, the kidney was contaminated with feces, blood and other contaminants and was no longer useable.

A kind-hearted citizen heard about this tragic surgical error and offered to donate a kidney. The family was touched by this generous offer and Sarah is slowly attempting to recover from her ordeal. Her brother is still traumatized by the fact that he now must live his life with only one kidney and couldn’t even help his sister. According to papers filed in the Ohio Court of Claims by the family attorney, the new kidney was not a perfect match and is not as good as her brother's would have been. The family has recently sued the hospital. In responsive pleadings, the hospital has admitted that the kidney was thrown away, but denies that the action constitutes medical negligence. When asked about this contradiction, the Fudacz family attorney said, “They are admitting they threw the kidney away, but are not admitting substandard medical care. They must think that it is within the standard of care to throw a kidney away. It would be more decent to admit substandard care, and the family shouldn’t have to be going through litigation to prove it. It’s obvious to everyone but the university...” Dr. Rees continues to work at the hospital, although the nurse who threw the kidney away has been fired.

Although this exact example of surgical error is rare, surgical errors happen all too often in this country. Something as simple as checking the contents of a cooler before throwing it in a trash chute could have easily prevented this tragedy. It is exactly this type of carelessness that causes thousands of families to suffer needlessly every year. Even though they admitted the kidney was thrown away, the hospital is denying fair compensation to the victims. This is a great example of the necessity of getting a good medical malpractice attorney on your side. If you would like to know more about surgical errors and how we can help you, click here or contact The O’Keefe Firm at 937-643-0600.

This entry was posted in: Blog, Medical Malpractice, Surgical Errors