UTMC kidney donor program suspended after failed transplant - News, Weather, Sports, Toledo, OH

UTMC kidney donor program suspended after failed transplant

TOLEDO, OH (Toledo News Now) - More than 900 people received a letter from University of Toledo Medical Center a little over a week ago stating their transplants will need to be put on hold. The Juarez family was among those 900. The family had been waiting on a kidney for their patriarch for about a year.

Jesse Juarez found out he needed a new kidney last February. Juarez had been through the entire process of testing and matching and had his brother willing and ready to be a donor. 

Hours after getting a call from doctors saying that he was healthy enough for surgery, Juarez received a certified letter saying that he would need to continue to wait.

 "I was looking forward for this moment. To get approved, I was happy and then to get denied, the same day, it was hard," said Jesse Juarez.

 A botched transplant at UTMC ended with a good kidney in the trash and the living donor transplant program being voluntarily suspended.

"He's so close. You know and he's on the list but it's the deceased donor list and your chances of survival are so much less than a living donor," said wife Connie Juarez.

In the past few weeks, the medical center has been investigating as to how this happened and how to keep it from occurring again.

As a part of protocol, they have temporarily stripped Dr. Michael Rees of the title of Surgical Director of Renal Transplantation while they investigate. Officials say they hope that the information found in the investigation will serve as a learning tool for programs like theirs across the country.

"Anything else that we can do to make the program safer, also is there anything that other transplant programs or surgical programs across the country can learn in order to make their program safer, because we are very interested in uplifting the community," said Dr. Jeff Gold with the University of Toledo.

The university does not know how long the program will be suspended.  The Juarez family said they are not sure if they want to continue this process at UTMC or if they want to wait.

The university also says they are willing to link patients who do not want to wait up with other hospitals.

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