It is true that everyone makes mistakes, but when those mistakes are made
in a surgical theater, they are likely to have very damaging and lasting
effects. For one woman who was awaiting a kidney donation from her brother
at the University of Toledo Medical Center, one nurse’s mistake
has cost her a kidney and put her back on the waiting list.
The woman had found a perfect donor match: her brother agreed to donate
one of his kidneys to help restore his sister’s health. The surgeon
who had just extracted the kidney from the brother had congratulated everyone
on a successful surgery and was going to start the next surgery, the surgery
in which he would put the kidney inside of the sister, when he discovered
the recently-extracted organ was gone. The doctor asked what had happened
and who had taken the kidney when a nurse re-entered the operating room,
realizing she had flushed the kidney with the other medical waste.
Even if this hadn’t happened in Toledo, it would have caught Ohioans’
attention because this is the first recorded incidence of someone throwing
away a healthy donated organ. Some people within the medical field are
rationalizing this horrible error by saying that because such a situation
wasn’t on anyone’s radar, they could not have possibly prevented
it. This, however, has been countered by some hospitals in which there
are policies in place that could have stopped this nurse from throwing
away a perfect kidney.
It is these kinds of mistakes and oversights that cause such damage to
patients. Simple mistakes like this can mean the difference between recovery
and many months more of waiting for another organ donor; the difference
between life and death. Fortunately, medical malpractice lawsuits can
provide compensation to patients harmed by surgical errors.
It is unknown if this woman plans on filing a lawsuit against the hospital.