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UTMC responding to report released by State Department of Health on botched kidney

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TOLEDO, OH (Toledo News Now) - The University of Toledo answered questions Tuesday about last month's botched kidney transplant and the scathing report that was just released by the State Department of Health.

The University of Toledo's Vice President for External Affairs Larry Burns said a lack of communication is most responsible for the botched kidney transplant on August 10.

The report by the State Department of Health determined that six minutes after a kidney was harvested from a live donor, a nurse went on her lunch break.

The nurse returned 50 minutes later but took an "ice bath" containing the kidney out of the operating room, and inadvertently disposed of it.

The report determined UTMC had no policy to track a donated kidney from removal to transplantation.

Burns said there was a plan but it failed due to a lack of communication and the nurse should have known the viable kidney was not to be moved.

"Extremely surprising and as you said it was hard to believe and extremely devastating," said Burns.

One nurse was fired, another resigned and Burns said other changes have been made.

UTMC is also under fire from the "Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services" which funds organ transplants.

The CMS said it doubts whether UTMC can ensure the health and safety of its patients and Medicare funding could be pulled.

The Department of Health will do an unannounced visit to observe the hospital's procedures and see if it is in compliance.

"Well we certainly would be in a very bad position, just because of the funding and the payment structures that I mentioned. So it is critical to the program and I think everyone realizes that," said Burns.

The living donor program is still voluntarily suspended. Dr. Michael Rees is still stripped of his title as director of renal transplantation. Rees is still a surgeon on the staff.

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