Transplant Patient Gets Wrong Kidney at L.A. Hospital

The kidney transplant program at USC University Hospital in Los Angeles was voluntarily shut down last month after a patient accidentally received the wrong kidney, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Fortunately, the patient was not harmed because the kidney turned out to be an acceptable match – but if it hadn’t – the incident could have been fatal.

The hospital confirmed in a statement that it had voluntarily halted transplants Jan. 29 after "process error" was discovered. The hospital did not detail the nature of the error and declined to answer questions, according to the Times.

The hospital has been conducting a review of clinical procedures and safeguards since shutting down, and the review is expected to be complete by Friday. The hospital will consider resuming transplants at that time.

The mix-up apparently occurred after two kidneys, from separate donors, arrived at the transplant center around the same time on Jan. 29.

"Our packaging and documentation was accurate," said Thomas Mone, chief executive for the program OneLegacy, which coordinates organ transplants in Los Angeles. "Presumably this was human error" at the hospital.

The hospital notified OneLegacy of the error, said Bryan Stewart, a spokesman for the organ procurement organization.

After USC realized its mistake, the organ procurement organization used blood samples it had on reserve to conduct what is known as a "cross-match" — a test to see if the transplanted kidney was compatible with the person who received it, Stewart said.

Fortunately, the patient was not harmed because the donor's blood type was O, which is universally accepted. OneLegacy then worked to find an acceptable recipient for the other kidney. It was transplanted into a patient at another local hospital, Stewart said.

The intended recipient of the misplaced kidney received another organ a few days later.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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