Life-threatening mistake: US hospital transplants kidney to wrong patient with same name

A New Jersey hospital in the United States accidentally gave a kidney to the wrong patient, the officials confirmed it. The transplant was actually intended for another person with the same name and of the same age.

Virtua Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Camden added that both patients have now received kidney transplants and are doing well. However, the mistake was identified just a day after the transplant procedure. The hospital termed it an “unprecedented event”.

“Mistakes of this magnitude are rare,” Reginald Blaber, executive vice president and chief clinical officer at Virtua Health added in the statement. “And despite the unusual circumstances of similar patient identities, additional verification would have prevented this error.”

One of the members of the hospital’s clinical team had realised a day after the first transplant that the 51-year-old man received the kidney out of priority order, as they were lower on the transplant matching list.

According to the United Network for Organ Sharing, about 113,000 people are on a waiting list for an organ transplant with 95,000 of them waiting for kidneys.

The patient who was supposed to receive the initial kidney had received another one about a week later. However, the hospital has not identified the patients.

Mr Blaber also added in a statement that: “As an organisation committed to safety and process, we immediately instituted additional measures and educational reinforcement to help ensure this does not happen again.”

According to their website, Virtua Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital is the only facility in southern New Jersey to provide kidney, liver and pancreas transplants.

Organ disease is a major public health issue, and organ transplantation has been the only lifesaving treatment option. There as many people dying per year of organ disease are they are still on the transplant waiting list.

According to the survey done by the government of India, 500,000 people in India die because of non-availability of organs. Over 150,000 people wait for a kidney transplant but only 5,000 are lucky enough to get one.