“Nightmare Scenario” Causes Shut-Down of Living Donor Program at California Hospital

“Nightmare Scenario” Causes Shut-Down of Living Donor Program at California Hospital

Hospital stops surgeries on living kidney donors pending investigation after a donor's death last month.

Due to the death of a donor that had provided a kidney to a recipient at University of California San Francisco (UCSF) Medical Center, the facility has voluntarily suspended its living donor kidney transplant program, pending further investigation.

An article on nola.com says UCSF officials reported the recipient of the new kidney is doing well, but declined to identify either the donor or the recipient, and would not discuss the case any further.

Dr. Steven Katznelson, who is medical director of  California Pacific Medical Center’s kidney transplant program in San Francisco called the donor’s death a “nightmare scenario” and said it was something they worry about every day.  Katznelson pointed out that even for a healthy person, going under general anesthesia is always a risk.

The Organ Procurement and Transplant Network, an organization that runs the United Network for Organ Sharing, said since 2014, four people have died after donating a kidney, including the most recent one at UCSF.

According to officials, UCSF has performed more than 10,000 kidney transplants since 1964, the most of any kidney transplant center in the country.  The facility does around 350 per year, but only 150 of those are from living donors.

Most kidney transplant recipients get their organs from deceased organ donors, but those receiving transplants from living donors generally fare better after the procedure.  The risk of a living kidney donor dying is about three out of every 10,000 transplants.

The medical center says while the investigation is going on, they will not be performing any surgeries on living donors, but will  continue to transplant kidneys from living donors as well as deceased donors into recipients.

Since several transplant surgeries had already been scheduled before the end of the year, California Pacific physicians will handle the surgeries on the living donors for the facility.

Katznelson said California Pacific’s goal was to help UCSF and their patients as much as they could.

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