A New Jersey hospital admitted that doctors gave the wrong patient a kidney transplant because the person had the same name as the intended recipient.
The screw-up happened at the 325-bed Virtua Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Camden, New Jersey, the New York Post reported.
“All safety measures were validated and additional checks were put into place before any subsequent transplant procedures occurred,” the hospital said.
Virtua Health, the organization in charge of the hospital, said the November 18 operation on a 51-year-old patient was successful, but officials then discovered the person was given the kidney out of priority order on the transplant list because the individual had the same name and was of similar age to the intended recipient.
The organization added that it reported the error to state health officials and the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network.
The patient who was supposed to receive a kidney also underwent a successful operation on November 24. Health officials say they are taking steps to ensure that similar mistakes do not occur in the future.
“We have a profound responsibility to people who literally place their lives in our hands. Mistakes of this magnitude are rare, and despite the unusual circumstances of similar patient identities, additional verification would have prevented this error,” Chief Clinical Officer Dr. Reginald Blaber said in a statement.
“This is an unprecedented event in our respected 40-plus-year transplant program,” Blaber continued. “As an organization committed to safety and process, we immediately instituted additional measures and educational reinforcement to help ensure this does not happen again.”