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Report: Nurse unaware she flushed kidney

The Associated Press

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- A nurse who accidentally disposed of a living donor's kidney during a transplant said she didn't realize it was in the chilled, protective slush that she removed from an operating room, took to a utility room and "flushed down a hopper," according to a state report.

The nurse said she had been out on a break when a surgeon told everyone the kidney had been put in the sterile, semi-frozen solution, according to a review by the state for the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services that was obtained by The Associated Press through a records request. The transplant was Aug. 10 at the University of Toledo Medical Center.

Hospital administrative staff members interviewed on Aug. 21 hadn't determined how the nurse took the 13-gallon bag of slush, meant to extend the kidney's viability, past several members of the medical staff without their noticing the error, the report said.

It said poor oversight and communication and insufficient policies were factors in the kidney's disposal, which prompted the voluntary, suspension of the hospital's living-donor kidney transplant program.

The hospital had no comment on the report and hasn't said what happened to the intended kidney recipient, who was to receive an organ from her brother. The intended recipient and her brother were released from the hospital, which didn't identify them.

The hospital said it couldn't say whether she received a different kidney.

The medical center suspended two nurses in the incident; one was fired later, and the other resigned, the hospital said. A surgeon was stripped of his title as director of some surgical services, and a surgical services administrator put on paid leave has resumed work.

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