Ohio Hospital Apologizes After Kidney Transplant Patient Given Wrong Organ

Two hospital employees have been placed on leave in Ohio after a patient received the wrong kidney in a transplant.

University Hospitals of Cleveland said in a statement that two caregivers are on administrative leave after an error led to one patient receiving a kidney intended for another.

The incident occurred on July 2.

The patient is recovering as expected as the kidney was compatible, while the other's transplant has been delayed, according to the health care system.

For a kidney transplant to go ahead, the donor must be matched according to factors including their blood type.

University Hospitals said it alerted the United Network for Organ Sharing, a non-profit that leads the network of transplant hospitals in the U.S. for the federal government.

University Hospitals said: "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."

It went on: "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."

Newsweek has contacted University Hospitals for comment.

The incident comes amid a great need for kidney donors in the U.S., as the kidney transplant waiting list is the longest compared with all other organs. At time of writing, 90,318 people were in need of a kidney transplant in the U.S., versus 11,845 for liver, and 3,576 for heart.

According to Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network data, University Hospitals of Cleveland has carried out 2,761 kidney transplants since 1988, including 1,920 with deceased donors, and 841 with living donors. 95 of those have happened so far this year.

Highlighting how rare such mix-ups are, Heather Mekesa, chief operating officer of northeast Ohio non-profit organ and tissue recovery organization Lifebanc, told News 5: "99.9 percent of the time, this doesn't happen and organ donation does truly save lives."

Mekesa said the success rate for kidney transplants is "wonderful."

She went on: "This incredibly rare, uncommon mix-up shouldn't deter anybody from signing up on that donor registry and giving someone a second chance if possible."

Mekesa said: "The unfortunate circumstance is there are not enough donors out there to really get that list down. And that's so important."