Methodist Fired a Nurse for a Botched Kidney Transplant, and the Nurse is Fighting Back

National Kidney Foundation
Not all kidneys are this easily identifiable.
Over the summer, Methodist Dallas Medical Center admitted it had made a teensy weensy mistake and accidentally slipped the wrong kidney into one of its organ recipients.

Such an error could have easily killed the patient had her body rejected the organ, but it didn't. The kidney turned out to be a match, and the recipient suffered no real harm, save from that holy-shit moment when the hospital mentioned that it had accidentally pulled the old switcharoo.

Methodist, in full damage-control mode, voluntarily suspended its transplant program and fired the employee it said had improperly matched the donor ID number to the recipient's name. A review determined the mistake was isolated, and Methodist reinstated the program three weeks later. Then, on Thursday, Ruth Bunton outed herself as the fired nurse in a lawsuit against Methodist.

Bunton claims she shouldn't have been fired. She'd worked at the hospital since 1993 and had never been reprimanded for health or safety violations, according to the lawsuit. When she realized that an error had been made during a kidney transplant on June 19, she reported the mistake to her superiors. She was placed on suspension then fired two weeks later.

This was not because she failed to follow proper procedure, she claims in the lawsuit, but simply because she reported the error. She also claims that the fact that she is black and over 40 had something to do with her termination, since two Asian doctors on the transplant team were not punished for the botched transplant.

Bunton says Methodist, though it never mentioned her by name, dragged her reputation through the mud by telling the media that a long-time employee had made the error, thus "subjecting her to ridicule and shame to those that know that she was a long time employee at Methodist and have worked with her over the years."

All of this caused Bunton "mental anguish wherein she lost sleep, weight, and suffered adverse gastro-intestinal symptoms" for which she is seeking compensation, not to mention the wages, vacation pay, benefits, and court costs she's also asking for.

Methodist has not responded to a request for comment.

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TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

Billy the Kidney is making me laugh... Can't. Stop. Looking!




I wonder if they rent that getup out for parties?



I guess just because the hospital is located south of the Trinity that the race card must be played.  Who cares that there are far less Asians in South Dallas than blacks, and therefore Asians are the minority.

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

Hmm.  Sounds like the higher-up mucky mucks at Methodist found a scapegoat.


If she's the one that reported the error, then firing her will only lead to fewer potentially life-threatening errors being reported by employees rightfully afraid for their careers. On the other hand, you can guarantee that this nurse will never in her life make that mistake again.


While transplant waiting lists are long finding someone compatible is a part of the  process that reduces the numbers and creates sub lists of its own  that list is reduced even more when patient health and need of a transplant are figured in ..

 Sounds like one highly pre qualified person was able to get bumped up on an 0 percent margin for error  qualification list of names ahead of someone else who was also on the highly pre qualified on an 0 percent margin for error qualification list of names..




So out of that tiny subgroup who switched #2 to #1 ?


And why ?




RTGolden1 topcommenter

It says the fired employee was the one who mismatched the donor ID with the patient.  If that is so, and Bunton made the error causing the mistake, then I hope she stays fired.  There are some 'mistakes' that should not be allowed to build into a history.  Mismatching transplant organs would fall into that category, I believe.  If they do bring her back on the books, I hope it is in some position where attention to detail isn't a critical job skill.

Of course, in these stories, there's always "He said" and "She said" and there's what actually happened.  Perhaps more details will be forthcoming...??

everlastingphelps topcommenter

They do an on-the-table compatibility match, to make sure that there isn't any life-threatening error like that, so it couldn't have killed the patient (on its own.)


Still unsettling, but the recipient patient wasn't in danger.   (FWIW, my dad received a liver transplant at Methodist, so you can bet I was interested in the procedures before and after the news.)


@Tiger.Woods Asians are the minority south of the trinity in regards to general population....but in terms of employees .....not the minority atall.

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