Froedtert and The Medical College of Wisconsin on transplant probation

Posted at 10:37 PM, Jul 12, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-12 23:37:42-04

Hundreds of people were alerted after a local hospital's transplant program is put on probation.

Froedtert and The Medical College of Wisconsin sent a letter to all liver or kidney transplant candidates, potential donors, past donors and recipients. It notifies them of the probation- which the TODAY'S TMJ4 I-TEAM found out does not happen very often.

In the letter, dated July 5, Froedtert/MCW tells patients the probation is "due to an organ allocation concern arising from a single, complex transplant case."

The United Network for Organ Sharing, or UNOS, runs the country's Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network. They develop national transplant policy.

Information from UNOS said a standards committee interviewed staff at the hospital in January about quality concerns with organ transplant services. Froedtert/MCW tell us HIPAA privacy laws keep them from telling us when the issue happened or what it was. But, that committee decided Froedtert/MCW's transplant program needed to address "patient safety issues"

There are 254 transplant centers in the UNOS network, Froedtert/MCW is one of just 11 put on probation in the last five years.

We asked Froedtert/MCW to sit down for an interview. They responded with a statement saying, "we were surprised and dismayed by the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) Decision. We believe it is unwarranted and does not accurately reflect the quality, ethics, practices and outcomes of our program, which is consistently recognized for exceptional results."

Looking through UNOS databases, we found Froedtert/MCW's transplant center has done more than 400 liver and kidney transplants since 2014.

The Scientific Registry of Transplant Patients analyzes transplant center numbers. They label Froedtert/MCW's outcomes "as expected" for livers and "somewhat worse than expected" for kidneys.

According to UNOS, probation doesn't stop the hospital from performing transplants, but it does require Froedtert/MCW to make a corrective action plan. The hospital tells us the transplant leadership team created that plan and is already using it.

We did ask Froedtert/MCW to share their corrective action plan with us. They said they can not do that.

This is the first disciplinary action the Froedtert/MCW transplant program has had since they started in 1967.