Patients in limbo amid Memorial Hermann transplant probe

Dozens of patients awaiting kidney and liver transplants are unsure what's next as federal agencies conduct an investigation into allegations that a transplant surgeon at Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center altered patient records, potentially preventing some patients from receiving lifesaving care. 

On April 4, Houston-based Memorial Hermann voluntarily halted liver transplants, at the time saying it had been made aware of a pattern of "irregularities with donor acceptance criteria." Days later, the hospital also paused its kidney transplant program, which shares the same leadership structure as liver transplants. 

On April 11, the hospital told The New York Times the head of its abdominal transplant program admitted to manipulating patient records, which may have prevented some patients from receiving liver transplants. While multiple federal agencies investigate, 38 patients who are on the hospital's liver transplant waiting list and 346 on its kidney transplant waiting list are in limbo, The Houston Chronicle reported April 19. 

Memorial Hermann told the news outlet all patients awaiting liver transplants are being transitioned to other hospitals and that it is working to expedite the process for those most in need. Most candidates for kidney transplants chose to remain on the hospital's waiting list. 

"Upon the very difficult decision to voluntarily inactivate the kidney and liver transplant programs as we evaluate a new physician leadership structure, we expedited transfer for highly acute patients to another transplant hospital immediately," the hospital said in a statement to the news outlet. 

Memorial Hermann has said it is planning to reactivate its kidney transplant program under a new leadership structure, though it has not specified a date or shared information on plans to reactivate liver transplants. 

Houston Methodist and Baylor St. Luke's, also in Houston, are among the hospitals trying to accommodate liver transplant candidates from Memorial Hermann, according to the report. Houston Methodist told the news outlet said it had 18 liver and more than 100 kidney transplant referrals as of April 19. 

The news outlet spoke with a liver transplant candidate at Memorial Hermann whose health is deteriorating as she waits for an update on when transplants will be reactivated at the hospital or a possible transfer to Houston Methodist. 

"I don't know what's happening," the patient, Maria Gomez, told the news outlet. "It's a big, big problem." 

Becker's has reached out to Memorial Hermann and will update the report if more information becomes available.

Copyright © 2024 Becker's Healthcare. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy. Cookie Policy. Linking and Reprinting Policy.


Featured Whitepapers

Featured Webinars