Relative’s “Perfect Match” Donor Kidney Accidentally Thrown Out in Trash at UTMC

KidneyDiagramSubmitted by Elaine Magliaro, Guest Blogger

(Updated Below)

Imagine that you have end-stage renal disease and that you need a new kidney in order to survive. Imagine that a perfect match has been found for you—a kidney from your younger brother. Imagine that you and your brother are admitted to the University of Toledo Medical Center (UTMC) for kidney transplant operations. Imagine waking up after surgery and discovering that your brother’s kidney was removed from his body but not transplanted into yours.

All this actually happened in August of 2012 to a twenty-four-year-old woman named Sarah Fudacz. Fudacz said that she knew something had gone wrong as soon as she was being led out of surgery. “I lifted up my shirt and there was no incision.” She and her brother found out later that a nurse had mistakenly thrown away her brother Paul’s healthy kidney thinking that it was medical waste.

“Somebody wasted part of my brother,” Sarah Fudacz said. “I thought this was going to be the end of it and I’d finally start feeling better. I remember just asking over and over again, what happened?”

From the New York Daily News:

The bungle happened when circulating nurse Melanie Lemay, who was covering for part-time nurse Judith K. Moore during her lunch break, failed to properly update Moore on the status of the surgery after she returned from her break, according to hospital disciplinary records obtained by the Toledo Blade. Moore then unknowingly discarded the kidney along with other contents of the slush machine. The kidney was recovered but was unusable.

The Toledo Blade reported that Ms. Moore, a part-time nurse, resigned last September and Ms. LeMay, a full-time registered nurse, was fired by UTMC. Susan Donaldson James of Good Morning America also reported that the medical center’s administrator of surgical services was placed on paid administrative leave. UTMC’s live-donor program was temporarily suspended after a state investigation. According to a complaint that was filed in the Ohio Court of Claims in early August, “Lemay is now suing the hospital for wrongful discharge, defamation, slander and libel.”

Fortunately, UTMC eventually arranged for Sarah Fudacz to receive another kidney. The medical center also paid for her transportation to Colorado for her transplant operation in Denver last November. But the Fudacz family alleges in a lawsuit that, in the months between the disaster at UTMC and Sarah’s successful surgery in Denver, Sarah “suffered through painful dialysis, four painful surgeries … and was forced to live through the uncertainty of whether she would ever find a kidney suitable for transplant before dying.”

 “Paul Jr.’s kidney was considered a ‘perfect match’ for Sarah. Sarah seeks damages she has suffered and will continue to suffer due to the loss of Paul Jr.’s perfect kidney. Paul Jr. seeks damages he has suffered and will continue to suffer for having to undergo a painful and risky surgery, and for having to live the rest of his life with only one kidney, all in vain,” the suit reads. (Toledo Blade)

Although the medical center admits that a nurse threw away Paul Fudacz’s kidney before it could be transplanted into his sister, it has denied—in court papers— that it was medically negligent.

James E. Arnold, the Fudacz family’s lawyer, told ABC News, “They are admitting they threw the kidney away, but they are not admitting substandard medical care.” He said, “They must think that it is within standard care to throw a kidney away.” He added, “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 — in all fairness.”

UPDATE:

The hospital filed to dismiss the loss of consortium claims, but not the medical negligence, according to the Toledo Blade. A university representative told the paper he did not know how much the school had compensated the family thus far.

 

SOURCES

Ohio Transplant Victim Says Hospital ‘Wasted’ Brother’s Kidney (Good Morning America)

Kidney for Ohio Transplant Thrown in Trash (ABC News)

Toledo Hospital Threw Out Donor Kidney, Now Denies Negligence (ABC News)

Ohio woman sues Toledo hospital for throwing out kidney her brother donated to her: Sarah Fudacz, then 24, was awaiting a ‘perfect match’ kidney from younger brother Paul when a nurse mistakenly disposed of the organ. (New York Daily News)

UTMC seeks to have kidney lawsuit dismissed: Woman filed suit after kidney was accidentally discarded during surgery (The Toledo Blade)

Fudacz family still trying to comprehend how daughter’s kidney transplant was botched at UTMC (The Toledo Blade)

Family involved in botched kidney transplant sues UTMC (Toledo News Now)

Case Number: 2013-00441 Title: SARAH FUDACZ, ET AL. V. THE UNIVERSITY OF TOLEDO MEDICAL CENTER

52 thoughts on “Relative’s “Perfect Match” Donor Kidney Accidentally Thrown Out in Trash at UTMC

  1. Nick, your words: If the defense attorney doesn’t settle this then it is legal malpractice. Followed by, 90% of tort cases settle,

    The first is an absolute statement, not a 90% statement. Failing to settle is not legal malpractice, and in fact settling could be legal malpractice. You made an absolute statement that is categorically untrue. The right course of action for the defense attorney depends entirely on what the plaintiffs are demanding.

  2. Nick: Insurance companies don’t build those big buildings wasting money. Although, I did work for AIG and they did!!

    I have worked for both banks and insurance companies as a consultant; I speak from mind-boggling experience when I say they waste money by the bucket load, because they have it.

    In billion dollar corporations the upper echelon wastes rivers of money on ill-conceived adventures, and I have seen more than one smaller company worth a hundred million or so bet their company on a dumb idea and lose it.

    Just like the government, in any giant enterprise, waste, fraud, abuse and minimal productivity become rampant. What most people do not realize is that it is worse at the top of the pyramid than it is at the bottom; hourly wage workers with well-defined tasks, both in government and in private industry, have to work harder than almost any corporate officer I have ever worked beside. For most corporate officers their own work is at their discretion and their “productivity” is the cumulative productivity of subordinates they command. So their own productivity (as I have seen many times firsthand) may constitute very, very little mental labor at all: They just delegate everything.

  3. Tony, Ok, 90%. Chrissake, can we move on? I’ve worked on hundreds of med mal cases. How ’bout you? Regarding the insurance companies. They do not waste money on claims. They GRUDGINGLY pay out claims and look to nickel and dime claimants. I’m not an “upper echelon” guy. Obviously AIG was part of the wastefulness in the board room you injected here. However, there are thousands of insurance companies. Many are mutual. They have maybe 75 employees, serving a small area. There aren’t any upper echelons. I’ve worked for many of these companies, as well as most major insurance companies. They have in common this fact, they don’t waste money on claims. That’s the waste I was referring to, because that’s what we’re discussing here. We agree on fat cats in the upper echelons, although my knowledge is only from reading. I don’t wear jackets or ties[except for court] so I don’t get into those sanctuaries. I welcome anyone here to tell me stories where you had an insurance claim and the adjuster or their attorney wasted money and gave you more than you should have gotten.

  4. Nick: No major corporation wastes money by giving it to clients or customers; they waste money on pipe dreams, bad investments, and selfish indulgences.

    It is practically in the nature of the Insurance industry that a conflict of interest exists in paying claims; their profit is the difference between premiums received and expenses, the primary expense is claims paid, so every claim successfully denied or reduced is another dollar on the bottom line; screwing clients is a profit center.

    That is why insurance of all kinds should be run by the government as a zero-profit enterprise employing civil servants that cannot get rich and won’t be overpaid. Insurance should be a service to society that strives to break exactly even between premiums received and expenses paid, including claims. IMO Zero profit is the only way to defeat the inherent conflict of interest. And ONLY a government can actually run a zero-profit operation indefinitely, because they have infinite credit and can make up shortfalls in one year with slightly raised premiums in later years.

  5. Tony, “Screwing clients[claimants] is a profit center” is something we can agree on as I head to bed. Enjoy Labor Day.

  6. And yet you are for legislation that essentially protects the profits of med mal insurers at the cost of malpracticed patients getting either a pittance or unable to get any legal remedy at all, Tony.

    Curiouser and curiouser.

  7. “That is why insurance of all kinds should be run by the government as a zero-profit enterprise employing civil servants that cannot get rich and won’t be overpaid. Insurance should be a service to society that strives to break exactly even between premiums received and expenses paid, including claims. IMO Zero profit is the only way to defeat the inherent conflict of interest. ”
    ————–
    Good luck with that you socialist Basterd….. 😉

    • “That is why insurance of all kinds should be run by the government as a zero-profit enterprise employing civil servants that cannot get rich and won’t be overpaid. Insurance should be a service to society that strives to break exactly even between premiums received and expenses paid, including claims. IMO Zero profit is the only way to defeat the inherent conflict of interest. ”

      Tony,

      Even though Woosty quoted it above it bears repeating as the most rational and best way to handle insurance, though I feel that Woosty is wrong and you are actually a Communistic Fascist.🙂

  8. This is a very sad story, but the arrogance of the hospital is disturbing to me. I hope the parties involved have to dig very deep into theirs and their carriers pockets to compensate the family. I am late to the party, but medical malpractice caps are just a government subsidy to insurance companies and the industries that they protect.

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