An investigation has been opened at an Ohio medical center after a nurse accidentally disposed of a donated kidney in medical waste.
In the meantime, the University of Toledo Medical Center has suspended its live donor program while the investigation is open.
According to the Toledo Blade, a man had just undergone surgery to remove one of his kidneys to donate to his older sister.
Toledo-Lucas County health commissioner David Grossman confirmed the kidney had accidentally been thrown away.
"One of the kidney doctors talked to me," Dr. Grossman told the Toledo Blade. "He said it had to do with one of the nurses disposing of the kidney improperly. He didn't try to hide anything from us."
Grossman's office is not involved with the investigation.
Once the organ was found in the waste about an hour after it went missing, doctors tried to "resuscitate" the kidney for two hours, but unfortunately were unable to do so.
"In the process of transferring a kidney from a donor, a human error rendered the kidney unusable," Dr. Jeffrey Gold, chancellor and vice president for biosciences and health affairs at UTMC, said Wednesday. "Efforts were made to restore the kidney to a usable state, however, the physician in consultation with the family decided to not take the risk knowing there was a good chance for another highly compatible donor."
The hospital said it is getting help from both internal and external experts on this situation, which is said to be a "one-of-a-kind" occurrence in the U.S. Currently, the hospital is trying to ascertain how this could have happened. The Medical Center reportedly has a 98 percent success rate since the program's inception in 1972. To date, it has performed 1,700 renal transplants.
Dr. Gold had also released a statement reported ABC News.
“We cannot fathom the disappointment that those impacted have experienced over the course of the last week. The University cannot begin to express the sorrow that we feel that this unfortunate incident occurred. We apologize sincerely,” Dr. Gold said.
Reportedly, two operating-room nurses have been suspended with pay. The transplant program is expected to open again in the near future, currently the facility is awaiting approval from the United Network for Organ Sharing before they can reopen.
Kidneys are the organs most in need, with a waiting list at time of publish of 92,994 individuals on the transplant list in the U.S.