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Published: Friday, 8/30/2013 - Updated: 1 year ago

Fudacz family still trying to comprehend how daughter's kidney transplant was botched at UTMC

BY IGNAZIO MESSINA
BLADE STAFF WRITER
The Fudacz family talk about the botched kidney transplant. From left:  Paul Jr., Sarah, their brother Joseph and dad Paul Sr.. The family met with The Blade today in the law office of James E. Arnold & Assoc. in Columbus. The Fudacz family talk about the botched kidney transplant. From left: Paul Jr., Sarah, their brother Joseph and dad Paul Sr.. The family met with The Blade today in the law office of James E. Arnold & Assoc. in Columbus.
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COLUMBUS -- Sarah Fudacz lived with failing kidney function through the end of her teenage years and punched into her mid 20s with the painful necessity of dialysis multiple times a week.

"I was 16 and I was at St. Ursula and I felt really just sick and light-headed and I collapsed in the hallway, and my blood pressure was like 200 over 115," Ms. Fudacz said during an interview with The Blade in Columbus today. "I was rushed to the hospital and then we found out that I only had 50 percent [kidney] function."

The following seven years were highlighted for Ms. Fudacz and her South Toledo family with sporadic hospital stays until finally in March, 2012, when she was diagnosed with end stage renal failure.

Everyone stepped up - every family member who was at least 18 years old. That included her Mother Ellen; Father, Paul Sr.; sister, Marie, and brothers Chris and Paul Jr.

When Ms. Fudacz's younger brother, Paul Jr., turned out to be a perfect donation match, the entire family breathed a collective sigh of relief, rejoiced, and prayed for a successful end to her suffering.

Paul, Jr.’s kidney was considered a perfect match for Sarah. He was admittedly "freaked out" about giving up an organ but was thrilled to help his sister. But after his kidney was removed last August, it was thrown out by a nurse at the University of Toledo Medical Center.

With his sacrifice in vain, the 21-year-old said he is filled with anger and disappointment.

"When they said it was going to be me, man I don't know, I was excited and then just tried to hide my nervousness," he said. "Now I just feel disrespected."

A year later, the two are still having trouble fathoming how such a blunder was made.

The Fudacz family stepped forward today to talk about Sarah's highly publicized and botched kidney transplant surgery at UTMC. Talking to The Blade in Columbus, the two siblings and their parents said they wanted to avoid a lawsuit, but it became unavoidable.

"While the legal realities of this situation are complex and ongoing, we have worked hard to learn from this incident and have spread these lessons widely to try to make hospitals and transplant programs safer across the country." said Dr. Jeffrey Gold, chancellor and executive vice president for health affairs at UTMC.

Sarah, who was 24 at the time of the Aug. 10, 2012, kidney transplant surgery, eventually received a kidney transplant through a pair donor chain. That happened in November at a hospital in Colorado.

Ms. Fudacz, Mr. Fudacz, their parents, and their four siblings filed a lawsuit against UTMC in the Court of Claims in Columbus.

The parents today detailed the panic they felt that day.

"So we are waiting for like 20 minutes not knowing what was going on," the older Ms. Fudacz said. "I thought Sarah was dead, just because no one was coming to us, time was going by, I was shaking like a leaf, I couldn't stop shaking."



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