The kidney is a vital organ that removes impurities from the body. In people with severe kidney disease, a transplant can help them return to a normal life. CBS News reports that the majority of the 39,000 organ transplants performed in the United States last year were kidneys.
Unfortunately, sometimes things go wrong with an organ transplant. Recently, a mix-up occurred at University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center in which one patient received a transplanted kidney intended for someone else. Such a mistake has implications for both patients.
Outcomes for the unintended recipient
Before a patient receives a transplant, testing takes place to ensure that the organ is compatible with his or her system. Generally speaking, if a patient receives an incompatible organ as a transplant, he or she could die.
In this instance, it turns out that the kidney is compatible. So far, the patient is reportedly recovering as expected from surgery.
Outcomes for the intended recipient
Very little information is available about the patient intended to have the transplant in the mix-up in Cleveland. The only information the hospital has released is that it has delayed the planned transplant operation due to the mix-up.
No information is available about the treatment the intended recipient was receiving prior to the planned transplant, but presumably, he or she will have to continue it until matched with a new donor kidney. It is not clear how long the patient will have to wait until a new kidney is available or how his or her condition could progress in the interim.
In a statement, the hospital said it had apologized to the patients and their families and is investigating how the mix-up occurred. Thus far, two caregivers are on administrative leave, and more consequences could be forthcoming if either patient decides to pursue legal action.