Methodist Hospital Puts Kidney in Wrong Patient, Suspends Transplant Program

Categories: Healthcare

Methodist Health System
A little while ago, WFAA reported that Methodist Dallas Medical Center had made a teensy error during a recent operation and transplanted a kidney into the wrong patient. The kidney turned out to be compatible and the patient is fine, but when Methodist discovered the mistake last week, it raised red flags and prompted the Oak Cliff hospital to voluntarily suspend its kidney and pancreas donation program.

There aren't a lot of details about exactly what happened -- just that, as a result of "human error, our process of matching the donor identification number to the recipient's name was not followed," according to a statement released by the hospital. The human who made the error, who is not being identified, is no longer with Methodist.

Joel Newman, a spokesman for the United Network for Organ Sharing, which oversees the system that matches organ donors and recipients under a federal contract, said inadvertent transplants are "rare but not unheard of." He didn't have any statistics but said that in 20 years with the organization, he's encountered "a handful."

Newman said he couldn't talk specifics about the Methodist case but, in general, the agency convenes a peer review committee to investigate transplant mistakes. If the committee finds serious or systemic problems with transplant procedures, it issues a public determination that the institution is on probation or not in good standing. That rarely happens. In the vast majority of cases, UNOS works with hospitals to bring their programs back into compliance.

I've asked Methodist for additional details, such as when the transplant took place, how it was discovered, and when they hope to relaunch the transplant program. Meanwhile, the 208 patients actively awaiting transplants can have them done at another hospital if an organ becomes available.

Update at 5:17 p.m.: Methodist sends along some additional information.

During 2011 Methodist provided 58 kidney program transplants including 47 single kidney, 2 kidney/pancreas, and 9 kidney/liver transplants. Additionally, there were 44 liver-only transplants in that program.

We have notified both the patients awaiting transplant as well as all previous transplant patients. We took immediate action to begin an internal review to ascertain the root cause and put additional protocols in place to ensure the continued safety of our patients. For 31 years, the Methodist Dallas Medical Center Transplant Program has provided the highest quality of care, safety and service for our donors and recipients as evidenced by our consistently superior patient and graft survival results. Our foremost commitment is to our patients and their safety and we will work diligently to resume the life-saving work in caring for our kidney and kidney/pancreas transplant patients very soon.

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My Voice Nation Help

The doctors and nurses of Methodist kept my Mom alive for 29 years on a donated kidney! Mistakes happen EVERYWHERE. Seems to me that they  are stepping up and accepting responsibility. They'll make corrections and keep on saving lives.


I am glad to see that Methodist Dallas is getting the press that they deserve.  Sixteen years ago, they left me sitting for hours in the emergency room having a cerebral hemorrhage.  They were trying to make me go home, even though I was telling them that I could not feel anything on the left side of my body. It was Good Friday in 1986 and the emergency room staff was more interested in going to chase the Easter Bunny, than they were about taking care of me.  I entered a lawsuit against them, but they apparently had the judge in their back pocket, because after the depositions, he decided to require a $75K bond from me in order to keep the case alive.  Of course, I didn't have that kind of money, so the case was dropped.  I did file a complaint with the Department of Health and they required them to make many changes in their facility based on my case and other cases where they dropped to ball.  Every time, I or a loved one has been brought to that hospital it has been a bad experience.  That hospital and their sister hospital on Wheatland will always be "Methodeath" to me.   I could write a book of horror stories about the Methodist Medical system.  

Titus Groan
Titus Groan

This seems like not one mistake but two: 1. The hospital employee routed the kidney to wrong person. 2. The surgeon either didn't know who he was working on, or what procedure he was doing. And honestly, shouldn't the anesthesiologist and OR nurses have some clue of what's supposed to be going on in the operating room too? Not so much human error as systemic failure.

Ms Shae
Ms Shae

I am one of the 47 who received a kidney last year and I am doing wonderful. Dallas Methodist is a wonderful hospital and out of the numerous times that I have stayed there or visited the emergency room I have received nothing but the Best care by all of the staff. Mistakes happen and the patient is doing good and they should be forgiven for the human error that was made there. No hospital is exempt from mistakes so lets just thank God the patient is doing well. It will be terrible if the program won't be able to return because dallas Methodist hospital gave me a second chance at life.


I recieved a liver&kidney transplant there and amm doing real well though i was almost dead. My family and i thank these people every day and hope for all involved the best. Thanks again, Tom

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