I tweeted this article when it was first printed a couple of days ago, but I wanted to make a few comments about it here.
In short, a number of living kidney donors died because surgeons used a blood vessel clip they knew was prone to failure. So prone to failure that the FDA issued a temporary ban on the clip in 2006, after three LKDs died.
Oh and by the way, there have also been “several” other cases where living kidney donors have suffered major hemorrhages because of this damned clip too.
Living kidney donors endure a needless medical procedure, relinquish a major organ then spend their lives in a permanently compromised state all because they want to help another person (and that’s if things go well. there’s always the possibility of major complications, psychosocial problems and financial drains). Yet the transplant surgeons can’t care enough to heed data and federal notices that say, “Hey, don’t use this clip on a living donor nephrectomy because you cut the renal stump too short. This causes clip failure, resulting in major bleeding and death”.
They do this why – because clips are cheaper; because their personal opinion is that it’s not dangerous because they’ve never killed anyone (yet)? The arrogance and lack of empathy is infuriating.
And the article climaxes on one of my favorite transplant industry-related pet peeves: the hording/hiding of information by UNOS/OPTN, CMS (medicare) and the FDA on deaths and complications.
Dr. Friedman contended that these regulatory agencies have balked at releasing case details out of medicolegal concerns about discoverability and confidentiality.
“discoverability” = it’s more important to help the hospitals, transplant programs and surgeons to cover their asses from a much-deserved lawsuit than it is to protect the public.
And folks wonder why I’m so angry.
ETA: May 2011 FDA and HRSA warning on the use of these clips on living kidney donors.
ETA 4-1-2015: Click in the article no longer works. A search on the website provided this: http://www.ehospitalistnews.com/?id=760&tx_ttnews[tt_news]=56613&cHash=eda7b64ec49534e8e5b8571474eddb4d