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Published: Tuesday, 8/28/2012

Inquiry into kindney surgery grows

UTMC to pay Texas doctor $2,500 to review procedures

BY IGNAZIO MESSINA
BLADE STAFF WRITER

The University of Toledo Medical Center has hired a transplant surgeon and expert in his field to review its living kidney donor program in the wake of a bungled surgery earlier this month that resulted in a viable kidney being discarded.

But the promised investigation of the botched surgery has morphed into a "Consulting Services" contract calling for Dr. Marlon Levy of Fort Worth "to work in close collaboration" with officials of the medical center.

Dr. Levy will be paid $2,500 by the university hospital to "review the policies, procedures, and practices of UTMC's living related donor program" and also review management of patients undergoing living related transplants.

The review by Dr. Levy, surgical director, transplantation, at Baylor All Saints Medical Center at Fort Worth, is to supplement an investigation started by the United Network for Organ Sharing and the Ohio Department of Health on behalf of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, UTMC spokesman Tobin Klinger said.

"UNOS is already working with the voluntary suspension of the program and we will find out what their expectations are," Mr. Klinger said. "What Dr. Levy is coming in to do is supplement that and to let us know what we can do to improve and learn from what happened."

During an Aug. 10 surgery, a kidney was removed from a Toledo man at the hospital and was supposed to be transplanted into his sister. The organ was inadvertently discarded with medical waste by a nurse, hospital and other sources confirmed.

Dr. Michael Rees, the transplant surgeon at the medical center who removed the kidney before it was ruined, has not returned telephone calls seeking comment. Two nurses were suspended with pay after the incident, pending the results of the investigation into how the kidney was ruined.

Dr. Levy did not return telephone calls seeking comment.

According to his contract with the medical center, the former Medical College of Ohio Hospital, Dr. Levy is supposed to write a detailed report of his findings, conclusions, and recommendations.

Dr. Jeffrey Gold, chancellor and vice president for biosciences and health affairs at UTMC, told The Blade last week the hospital immediately reported the incident to the Ohio Department of Health and the United Network for Organ Sharing, which are participating with UTMC in the investigation along with a group of "kidney transplant experts" from another institution that Dr. Gold at the time wouldn't identify until a contract was finalized.

Baylor All Saints Medical Center at Fort Worth has liver, kidney, pancreas, and islet cell transplant programs.

Contact Ignazio Messina at: imessina@theblade.com or 419-724-6171.



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