UTMC resumes live kidney transplant program following successful reviews

December 11, 2012 | News, UToday, Medicine and Life Sciences, UTMC
By Jon Strunk



The University of Toledo Medical Center has lifted the voluntary suspension of its live kidney transplant program following extensive reviews from several national accrediting bodies and an intense self-evaluation, UTMC officials announced Tuesday.

UTMC voluntarily had suspended the program after a to-be-transplanted kidney was accidently rendered unusable during a procedure earlier this year.

“Today we complete the next step in a difficult journey, but one that I think has unquestionably made us a stronger, safer hospital,” said Dr. Jeffrey Gold, chancellor and executive vice president for biosciences and health affairs, and dean of the College of Medicine and Life Sciences.

“Ultimately, we found what I believed we would find — that UTMC’s renal transplant program is one of the oldest and most successful in the nation, and that this incident was the result of an accidental and inexplicable human error. We have put new policies and technology in place to eliminate the possibility that this error is ever repeated,” Gold said.

According to Gold, UTMC has stayed in close communication with those affected by the error, and the institution remains committed to their medical care and their request for privacy.

“This has been a very emotional time for the family as well as for UTMC employees. I want to once again express my best wishes to the family, and I want to thank all staff members at UTMC for their outstanding and positive response to this unfortunate incident,” Gold said.

UT President Lloyd Jacobs, a vascular surgeon by training, said that while human error always will exist, putting policies, procedures and technological advances in place drastically reduces the chances that an error negatively affects a patient.

“Every hospital works to avoid these occurrences, but when they happen, academic medical centers especially have an obligation to share what happened with the medical community so all can learn and improve,” Jacobs said. “I regret that this incident took place, but I’m proud of the role UTMC took in working to eliminate the chances that this could happen at any hospital in the future.”

During the voluntary suspension, UTMC worked actively with all patients in the live-kidney transplant program to provide all necessary care short of transplantation; this included coordinating with other medical centers where transplantation could take place. Following a one-week voluntary suspension in August, UTMC’s deceased donor kidney program was reinstated and has since been actively performing transplants.

Established in 1972, UTMC’s renal transplant program has performed more than 1,700 transplants and has a 98 percent success rate — one of the best in the nation.