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New Jersey hospital says kidney went to wrong transplant patient

A New Jersey hospital says a kidney went to the wrong transplant patient who had the same name as the designated recipient.

Virtua Health said in a statement that the kidney was given to a 51-year-old patient on Nov. 18 in a successful operation at Virtua Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Camden, N.J. The health care system said it then found out the following day that the kidney was supposed to go to a patient higher on the priority list.

Virtua Health said the “unprecedented event” occurred because “unusually, the individual who should have received the organ has the same name and is of similar age.” The patient who was supposed to get the kidney had a successful operation on Sunday.

“Mistakes of this magnitude are rare, and despite the unusual circumstances of similar patient identities, additional verification would have prevented this error,” Reginald Blaber, the executive vice president and chief clinical officer at Virtua Health, said in a statement obtained by The Hill.

The incident was reported to the New Jersey Department of Health and the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network, and officials say they’ve made efforts to ensure the mistake is not repeated, according to the statement.

More than 113,000 patients are awaiting an organ transplant, with 95,000 waiting specifically for a kidney, according to data from the United Network of Organ Sharing cited by NBC News.

Tags Kidney transplantation New Jersey Virtua Health

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