Hospital Screwup - WTF

There is a 17yr girl, who had a Heart/Lung Transplant, she has type O Blood, they transplant her with Type AB organs, WTF.
How can this or any hospital screw this up, Blood typing, Clerical Error, how? There is a Heart/Lung that is Type O, that has been transplanted. No wonder Malpractice is so high, Tool Doctors/Nurses who can’t get it right. Do you think the family will sue? Major F/Up. I hope she is OK, if the second, correct transplant takes, I guess she has to deal with rejection.

Well, unfortunately, anything involving humans is susceptible to human error, medicine not exempted. Best we can do is keep our fingers crossed, and roll the heads of those responsible. I believe there are several thousand transplant operations every year, so statistically speaking this sort of thing is bound to happen.

It’s a terrible mistake. Her body rejected the organs immediately and she went on a critical need organ donar list. Believe it or not, they transplanted a new set of heart/lungs today and she’s still alive. We’ll see what happens.

I cannot imagine where the error occured- the place where the organs originated (Boston, I think) said that all was correct on their end- it appears the problem happened at Duke Univ. Hospital.

I think right now the family is much more concerned that the girl pulls through then how much they’ll sue for. (I would hope)

Was that really a directed donation? I heard somewhere it was.

From here:

It’s hard enough having a loved one die from medical causes–having that happen because of a single, or a chain of a few, (however the causes of this fuck-up turns out to have happened) stupid mistakes has got to be just hellish. I hope she surprises everyone by pulling through, but don’t expect it.

Same here, Drastic. It would be great if she pulled though, but there isn’t a whole lot of hope. The survival rate for that kind of major transplant isn’t great to begin with, much less when she’s suffered the kind of body trauma she has.

About the directed question- as Drastic said, it was not a directed donation- according to the news last night, donars are given organs in order of need. Since she was about on deaths door, she got moved up the list, I imagine.

The most bizarre part is that the same doctor did the explant from the donor and the implant into Jessica. He says the transplant administrators had all of the patient’s information and matched the two up–and as the Doc he just assumed that meant all was kosher. Hopefully they’ll now implement some kind of spot check for stuff like this. I mean, it’s not like it was some obscure clash–they had two completely different blood types for god’s sake!
Latest news on Jessica is that she’s got swelling on the brain, they’ve implanted a tube to help drain it but things look grim. This poor family, they came up here from Mexico to save their daughter’s life and our best and brightest end up making it worse. It’s sad all around, and I’m sure the medical staff involved are feeling terrible. World Eater’s right–human error is a fact of life–it’s just a shame that it’s probably going to cost this girl hers…

That’s horrible. And certainly and example of a case where a cap on malpractice claims is not appropriate.

I wonder how that will play out. From what I heard it was all being done gratis. Hers was a poor Mexican family and a home builder heard about her plight, flew she and her family up and paid for the entire operation. I’m curious if A) they’ll sue and B) if the circumstances will have some unusual legal caveat?

This site says that North Carolina doesn’t usually cap compensatory damges, but it caps punitives at the greater of three times compensatory damages or $250,000.

NC law allows punitives to be awarded “to punish a
defendant for egregiously wrongful acts and to deter the
defendant and others from committing similar wrongful acts.” I think we’d need to know where the mistake occurred and how before determining whether punitives are appropriate.

None of the proposed state/federal malpractice cap legislation that I’m aware of limits damages to compensate patients and their families for actual losses (present or future).

This case illustrates an event that is virtually unheard of in transplant medicine - a major organ mismatch. It is a tragic freak event which will likely cause some heads to roll at Duke. Using it as part of a wider attempt to block malpractice reform will worsen shortages of medical personnel in key areas of practice.

HR5 (Help Efficient, Accessible, Low-Cost, Timely Healthcare (HEALTH) Act of 2003) proposes limiting noneconomic damages at $250,000 (Sec. 4(b)).

No, because of the first screw-up, and the trauma her body endured, all because the Doctors didn’t double/triple check the transpanted organs blood type, she has Irrevisible Brain Damage. Fucking Tools, she is 17yrs old, a whole future ahead of her, Is she going to be a vegetable now? By that I mean, can’t do anything for herself, have to be taken care of.


Hmm… no, strictly speaking she did NOT have “a whole future” ahead of her. As a rule of thumb, you only get on the organ wannabe-recipient list when you DON’T have a future without a transplant.

Organ transplants are one of the modern systems that are composed of many, many parts, some of them quite small and mundane, where any failure along the line can result in catastrophe. Sort of like the Challenger mess where a too-stiff rubber O-ring - a “minor” part that costs less than most other spaceship parts - caused the entire shuttle to blow up. Or a jet being brought down by the failure of a relatively cheap part. It doesn’t require gross incompetence, willful negligence, or intent to harm… it only requires a very human moment or two of inattention. It’s easy to say “well, they SHOULDN’T be inattentive” but who among us can be alert and correct 24/7, 365/year for year after year after year? There ARE human limitations and doctors, with their long hours and tendency to overwork, are prone to falling into the attention-span danger-zone. They’re human, not machines.

Which doesn’t minimize the harm in the final outcome in any way.

The thing is - applying stiff penalities won’t solve the problem. The problem is probably not an individual, the problem is systemic. We could layer on more and more checks, rechecks, and safeguards… but it will NOT gaurantee this won’t happen again to someone else, anymore than the pages and pages of regulations in aviation have solved the problem of why airplanes crash. It’s tempting to try and locate a fallguy, a scapegoat, but what if there isn’t any?

Punish the doctor(s), strip away a medical license…? Then the doctor will no longer be able to help others in the future. Find a file clerk made an error in the paperwork so even if the docs DID double/triple/quadruple check the error would still be there…? Fire the clerk you have to find a new one and train him/her, including a learning curve where they will be more likely to err than an experienced person. Change the way organs are procured and processed…? Then the new system might have some hidden flaw that will emerge years later.

By all means - investigate, find the error. If there IS criminal neglience proceed accordingly. But if the problem is in the SYSTEM then change the way things are done rather than just concentrate on punishment.

The current system encourages people to hide mistakes. We need a system that uncovers mistakes. Not with an eye to punishment (although there are certainly cases where punishment IS appropriate) but with an eye to finding out why and how things like this happen so real safeguards and effective changes can be made.

Well put.

From here.


I would argue that this is not correct- she did have a whole future ahead of her when she received her first heart/lung transplant. Had they been the correct ones, she could have lived many more good years. Instead she will likely die or live with permanent brain damage. It’s a sickening shame.

What I meant by a whole future ahead of her is, if the transplant operation had been done correctly and successful, she would have her whole life and future ahead of her.

I wonder now, if she is considered “Legally Brain Dead” and is taken off life support, and dies, if the family will put a wrongful death suit against the Doctor, and Hospital?

I wouldn’t blame them.

Well they have taken her off life support and has been declared dead. I am really confused, but I thought I heard the news say that she was taken off life support without the permission of her family. Is that possible? I thought they would have had to give consent. The whole thing is sad. RIP Jesica.