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Kidney Donation Goes Terribly Wrong for Mother of Four Due to Malpractice

Posted in Medical Malpractice on Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Statistically, kidney donation is considered to be a relatively safe procedure. In 2010, of 6,276 people who donated a kidney, none of them died within thirty days of the surgery. However, in 2011, when Florinda Gotcher donated a kidney to her brother, her outcome defied those statistics. About thirty minutes after a seemingly successful laparoscopic surgery, Florinda took a fatal turn for the worse. Surgeons rushed her back into the operating room, opened her up again and discovered a pool of blood in her abdomen. Despite their best efforts, the surgeons were unable to save Florinda, a 41 year-old mother of four, from the massive and sudden bleed that she suffered post surgery.
The hospital surgeons told Florinda’s family: “…we did everything we possibly could, but there’s nothing we could do.” However, Florinda’s family later learned that Florinda’s death could and should have been avoided. In order to remove a kidney for donation, surgeons must cut the renal artey and close it back up. While many surgeons use staples to close the artery, some use tiny surgical clips, as Florinda’s surgeons did for her kidney donation. In 2006, the manufacturer of the surgical clips sent warning letters to hospitals that the clips were contraindicated in laparascopic kidney donor surgeries. The manufacturer learned that after such surgeries, the clips can slip off the tiny stump of renal artery that is left by surgeons, thereby causing massive and sudden bleeding. While the hospital admitted that it received the manufacturer’s warning in 2006, it claimed that it didn’t utilize the clips at that time and that it didn’t have an adequate system in place to track prior warnings once it started using the clips. After a lawsuit was filed by Florinda’s family, the hospital settled for an undisclosed sum and the hospital took corrective action by hiring an outside company to better track warnings and recalls.

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