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Kidney transplant halts USC Hospital program

February 17, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
USC University Hospital temporarily shut down its kidney transplant program reportedly because a patient got the wrong kidney. The hospital stated that the patient given the wrong kidney was not harmed. But the mistake has led the hospital to voluntarily stop the transplant program.

It was reportedly a human error, a mistake that happened in the operating room on Jan. 29. The program has been reviewed from top to bottom since the incident.

The transplant operation error has put the hospital's kidney transplant program on temporary suspension while its procedures are reviewed.

Hospital officials have issued only a written statement with no explanation of what it calls a "process error."

However, further information comes from the transplant donor network agency OneLegacy. It procures organs for USC University Hospital. The agency is notified about the outcome of each transplant operation.

An official with OneLegacy says there was a mix-up in surgery. A patient received a different kidney than was intended for him. It was a similar type, so the patient survived apparently without harm.

"Organs were allocated appropriately. They were packaged and labeled appropriately," said Bryan Stewart, vice president of communications for OneLegacy. "Then through a combination of circumstances, two Type-O kidneys being transplanted at virtually the same time in the same transplant center seems to have led to human error.

The hospital notified the United Network of Organ Sharing (UNOS). In the interest of safety, the hospital suspended the kidney transplant program on January 29. It has taken the last several weeks to review its procedures and develop additional safeguards.

"The good news for the patients is they continue to maintain their position on the waiting list, and once the program is reactivated, they'll be getting their kidneys allocated to them as they would have within the last week or two," said Stewart.

According to the hospital statement, there will be a decision on whether to reactivate the program Friday.