A Death forces San Francisco hospital to suspend its kidney donor program

A death has forced one of the most prominent medical centers of the nation to voluntarily suspend its living donor program planned for facilitating kidney transplants. To be more precise, the hospital took the decision of suspending the program after a living donor passed away last month.

The said kidney donor provided the organ to a recipient admitted at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) Medical Center in the month of October. The regulatory and hospital officials are currently busy investigating the actual cause of the donor’s death.

Dr. Steven Katznelson, the medical director of the kidney transplantation program of the California Pacific Medical Center, San Francisco, described the death of the donor as a nightmare scenario. He said that doctors worry about such incidents every day as even a healthy individual undergoing general anesthesia remains at certain level of risk.

The officials at UCSF, on the other hand, have informed that the kidney transplanted into the recipient is functioning properly. However, they have refused to identify both the deceased organ donor and the patient receiving the donated kidney. UCSF officials have made it clear that they will not be discussing the case any further.

The majority of the individuals undergoing kidney transplants get the organs from deceased donors. However, it has been found that people getting the organ from living donors experience better outcomes.


According to statistics obtained recently, nearly 3 out of every 10,000 kidney donors die following the surgery. Since 2014, a total of four cases involving deaths of kidney donors (including the most recent one at UCSF) have been reported in the United States. This fact has been presented by the Organ Procurement & Transplant Network. For those who don’t know: the Organ Procurement & Transplant Network is the parent body of the United Network for Organ Sharing; it performs the job overseeing transplantation nationwide.

According to hospital officials, the UCSF has played host to more kidney transplants than any other medical center in the United States. Since 1964, it has performed over 10,000 kidney transplants. Doctors working at UCSF carry out around 360 such operations every year, out of which around 150 involve living donors.

UCSF will not be conducting any transplant surgery on donors during the ongoing investigation, but will continue to transplant kidneys from both deceased and living donors into the recipients.