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University Hospitals: Transplant recipient got kidney intended for a different patient

UH has notified the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) about the incident. Two UH employees have been placed on administrative leave.

CLEVELAND — University Hospitals has confirmed to 3News this afternoon that an error took place several days ago resulting in a patient receiving a kidney that was intended for someone else. 

UH spokesperson George Stamatis told 3News' Laura Caso that the incident happened on July 2. 

"We are dismayed that an error recently occurred resulting in one patient receiving a kidney intended for another. The kidney is compatible and the patient is recovering as expected. Another patient’s transplant surgery has been delayed," Stamatis wrote in a statement. 

UH has notified the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) about the incident. UNOS is the organization that manages the national organ transplant system. 

In the meantime, UH is conducting an investigation and have placed two of its caregivers on administrative leave pending the outcome of the review.   

"We have offered our sincerest apologies to these patients and their families. We recognize they entrusted us with their care. The situation is entirely inconsistent with our commitment to helping patients return to health and live life to the fullest," Stamatis added. 

Heather Mekesa is the Chief Operations Officer for Lifebanc, Northeast Ohio's organ procurement organization. She says the mix-up that occurred at University Hospitals is rare.

"This is not the norm, I'd say 99.99 percent of the time, everything does go well," said Mekesa. "In the last two decades this has not occurred in Ohio. This was a very unfortunate and not a great incident to occur but it shouldn't deter people who want to help others through the gift of organ donation."

You can read UH's full statement below:

"The University Hospitals Transplant Program is comprised of a highly qualified, multidisciplinary team of experts with decades of transplant care delivery and research experience. We are dismayed that an error recently occurred resulting in one patient receiving a kidney intended for another. The kidney is compatible and the patient is recovering as expected. Another patient’s transplant surgery has been delayed. 

We have notified the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), the organization that manages the national organ transplant system. We are also carefully reviewing this situation to understand what led to the error and to ensure that such an event will never happen again. Two of our caregivers are on administrative leave pending the determinations of our investigation. 

We have offered our sincerest apologies to these patients and their families. We recognize they entrusted us with their care. The situation is entirely inconsistent with our commitment to helping patients return to health and live life to the fullest.'

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