Nurse flushes away living donor kidney during transplant

Kidney at the hospital  
By: Ryan Lee Hall 

A nurse admitted to taking a living donor kidney during a transplant and flushing it down a shoot to the garbage, according to reports in the news media.

The nurse, who accidentally removed the kidney from a living donor for a transplant, said she did not realize that it was intentionally placed in cold ice.

She removed it from an operating room, took it down a corridor to a utility room and flushed it down the chute, according to a report released by the health authorities.

The nurse said she had been on a break when a surgeon told everyone the kidney had been placed in the sterile, semi-frozen solution. That detail was on a review by the state for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and obtained by the news media through a records request. The transplant took place at the University of Toledo Medical Center.

Administrative staff at the hospital were interviewed, had not determined how the nurse took the bag of 13 gallons of sludge, with the intention to extend the viability of the kidney, through various medical staff without them noticing a problem, according to the report.

It said that poor policies and inadequate supervision and communication were factors in the removal of the kidneys, leading to the voluntary and temporary suspension of the live donor kidney transplant program at the hospital and led to criticism from health officials and a surgeon consultant hired by the hospital.

The hospital is about 135 miles north of Columbus Ohio, "did not provide adequate supervision and communication during the procedure in the operating room, a hallway, in the dirty laundry tub and down a chute," according to the report.

The hospital has now enacted clearer policies to clarify the communication among nurses to fill in one another and to ensure that nothing is removed from the operating room until the patient has been moved from it, according to the report.