Gulf Coast Medical Center's transplant program on probation after donor death

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The Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network has placed Gulf Coast Medical Center's transplant program on probation after a kidney donor died, the OPTN announced Wednesday.

Probation status is "a public designation of an OPTN member that is executing a corrective action plan for noncompliance with OPTN policies or bylaws, or a serious lapse in patient safety or quality of care," according to the OPTN.

The Fort Myers, Fla.-based hospital, which is part of Lee Memorial Health System, had voluntarily stopped performing living donor kidney transplants following the death of the live donor, which the hospital blamed on a "rare surgical complication," The News Press reported, and the death was ruled to be an accident.

A peer review found issues with Gulf Coast's screening and evaluation for potential live donors. The hospital is in the midst of a quality improvement process, according to OPTN.

Gulf Coast has terminated its contract with the physician who performed the surgery "because the program was suspended," Mary Briggs, a hospital spokeswoman, told The News Press. He can still use hospital facilities, however.

Ms. Briggs also told The News Press that Gulf Coast had "voluntarily consented to probationary status" and that "all current and future patients will be notified of the program's probationary status."

Surgeons at the hospital continue to provide kidney transplants involving deceased donors. Transplants involving living donors will likely remain inactive until spring of 2016, according to The News Press.

Gulf Coast plans to hire a fellowship-trained laparoscopic transplant surgeon, as OPTN recommended, and will present its action plan at an OTPN board meeting in March, according to the report.

According to the hospital's website, Gulf Coast is the region's only kidney transplant center.

More articles on transplant programs:
UPMC's transplant program put on probation
Baptist Hospital, Nicklaus Children's Hospital hope for transplant programs
Lawyers investigate 2 more UPMC transplant patient deaths: 5 things to know

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