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Nurse causes organ damage to donated kidney

Readers in Harris County may find it alarming that recently a nurse at a hospital accidentally disposed of a donated kidney, leaving it unusable for transplantation. Although the incident occurred at an out-of-state facility, surgical errors like this can happen anywhere and can have severe consequences.

In this case, a man donated the kidney to his older sister. While doctors at the hospital in Ohio tried to resuscitate the organ for at least two hours, they were unsuccessful. Two nurses have been placed on paid administrative leave while the hospital investigates the matter. The family will now have to wait for another compatible donor. Nationally, 4,711 people died waiting for a kidney last year.

Nurses are very important to a patient's well-being. They serve as a sort of "safety net" for the patient; patients and families rely on nurses to monitor the patient for signs of trouble and to catch potential doctor errors in written orders for medications and treatment. When nurses are distracted, overworked or undertrained, errors can result which can cause serious organ damage or even death.

Some common types of nursing errors that can result in medical malpractice include assessment errors, communication errors, medication errors and chart errors. Nursing and other surgical errors can cause organ damage or other fatal complications. For example, sometimes doctors fail to take previous procedures into account when planning a surgery, which can lead to a common type of surgical error known as complicated gut scenario. This occurs when the patient has had previous invasive abdominal procedures such as an appendectomy, and the prior surgery leaves scar tissue, called "adhesions," which seriously complicate the new procedure.

People who are injured because of a medical error may want to pursue a medical malpractice claim against a nurse, doctor, negligent operating room staff or hospital in order to receive the compensation they deserve. These medical professionals can be held accountable for the negligence and the harm or wrongful death that their negligence caused.

Source: msnbc.msn.com, "Nurse put kidney for patient transplant in trash," Aug. 27, 2012

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