The hospital has said a nurse accidentally threw out a chilled, protective slush containing a viable kidney donated to a Toledo woman by her younger brother in August 2012. The 24-year-old woman, who was suffering from end-stage renal disease, later received a different kidney in Colorado, court records show.
A complaint by the siblings and their family alleged the facility in northwest Ohio was negligent, causing physical and emotional suffering for the patients and emotional distress for their parents. The sister awoke in a recovery area with no incision and initially feared her brother had died in surgery, the complaint said. Her parents worried about their daughter's prognosis and about their son losing a kidney in vain, it said.
The complaint also said the parents and other siblings lost the pair's comfort and companionship because of the alleged negligence.
In documents filed Tuesday, the hospital denied the allegations and sought dismissal of the case. In a specific request to dismiss the counts involving the relatives' alleged losses, it argued that Ohio law doesn't provide for parents and siblings of an affected adult to recover damages for such losses.
A statement from an attorney for the family says adults can recover damages for such losses involving their parents, and the same should be true if the situation is reversed.
The medical center apologized for the error, underwent internal and external reviews, clarified some procedures and temporarily suspended its live kidney donation program, which has since resumed. It has declined to comment on the pending litigation.
The nurse who disposed of the kidney retired, and another who was present and was suspended then fired has sued for wrongful termination. The surgeon in charge of the case no longer oversees renal transplantation for the hospital but continues to perform transplants and is a professor, according to court records.
The eight family members who filed the case, including the patients, are each seeking monetary damages of at least $25,000.