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Transplant errors often prompt programs to close temporarily

Here in Wisconsin, when we go to the doctor, we expect that we will get the best care possible. We rightfully expect that the doctors we see will give us accurate information and advice about our health and well-being. If we have a major health concern that requires surgery, those expectations get even higher. We know that doctors are trained to perform procedures accurately and trust them with our lives. Unfortunately, sometimes things go wrong.

Some Outagamie County residents may have heard about a recent incident at a hospital in another state in which a kidney transplant when terribly wrong. Doctors removed a healthy kidney from a donor, but before it could be transplanted into the recipient -- the donor's sister -- a nurse threw it away. The recipient didn't get the kidney she had been waiting for, and her brother's good kidney went to waste. Unfortunately, this type of medical negligence is not as uncommon as we would hope.

Several other hospitals in other states have closed down their transplant programs this year for a period of time due to serious errors. One transplant center closed temporarily due to an abnormally high death rate. Another was suspended because a newly available kidney was given to someone who was not at the top of the transplant list, and yet another shut down because a patient contracted Hepatitis C because of a kidney transplant.

While none of these transplant programs are located in Wisconsin, it emphasizes the fact that medical mistakes and errors do occur. There are steps you, as a patient, can take to protect yourself, but you cannot personally prevent certain errors that doctors might make. If you have been injured due to medical malpractice, you may be able to seek compensation for your injuries. Such compensation can help cover past and future medical bills as well as pain and suffering caused by the error. Speaking to an experienced medical malpractice attorney may be helpful in getting started.

Source: Toledo Blade, "Halting transplants not uncommon," Mark Reiter, Aug. 24, 2012

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