New Jersey hospital apologizes for kidney transplant mix-up

Officials say the wrong person was given a kidney transplant at Virtua Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Camden, New Jersey. 

On Monday, Nov. 18, a 51-year-old individual on the transplant list underwent a successful kidney transplant, officials said. 

The next day, a member of the clinical team discovered that this patient was inadvertently transplanted out of priority order based on the matching list of United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS). The person who should have received the transplant has the same name and is around the same age.

Virtua says they reported the mistake to all proper agencies. Safety measures were validated and additional checks were put into place before any subsequent transplant procedures occurred, officials said.

The patient who was initially transplanted was a match and is doing well.  On Sunday, Nov. 24, the patient that should have gotten the transplant underwent a successful kidney transplant and is also doing well.

Officials call the mistake “unprecedented” and say steps have been taken to prevent a recurrence.

Virtua Health released the following statement: 

"We have a profound responsibility to people who literally place their lives in our hands.  Mistakes of this magnitude are rare, and despite the unusual circumstances of similar patient identities, additional verification would have prevented this error.

This is an unprecedented event in our respected 40-plus-year transplant program. As an organization committed to safety and process, we immediately instituted additional measures and educational reinforcement to help ensure this does not happen again. 

As an organization with a focus on being here for good, we remain steadfast in doing the right thing and caring for the affected patients and their families. Recognizing the human component of medicine, we know that taking accountability and talking about issues openly and honestly is how we learn and improve.”


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