Preparing for a donor surgery is anything but easy, but definitely worth it! With months of preparation and testing for the donor and the recipient. It’s not only difficult for the donor and recipient, it’s a family affair– knowing you have two family members in surgery at the same time is very stressful!  I know this first hand since I am a sister who donated on behalf of her brother just a year ago! I have a tremendous amount of gratitude for the opportunity.

As Good Morning America reported this morning, when a Toledo Hospital threw away a kidney just before it was scheduled to be implanted into his sister, I can only imagine the devastation the family felt.  The hospital admits they threw the kidney away, but they are not admitting substandard medical care,Fudacz family lawyer James E. Arnold told

As a lean six sigma black belt, I see first hand how errors can occur when detailed processes
are not in place. Yes, mistakes can happen, particularly human error– however having a concise process that eliminates the possibility of costly mistakes is essential.lss

What is Lean Six Sigma (LSS)? Six-Sigma is the pursuit of accuracy and making everything right the first time. Lean is the pursuit of speed and therefore doing it as quickly as possible. When a hospital adapts LSS they utilize a set of tools and techniques/strategies for process improvement, LSS was originally developed by Motorola in 1981, however I believe it’s best known after Jack Welch made it a main focus at General Electric in 1995. Source: Wikipedia

Consider the flow of making a pot of coffee. Do you have a clear process every morning when making coffee? Do you use the exact amount of coffee, filters and water for quality and consistency? Is your system of making coffee done in the least amount of steps as possible, therefore is everything ready, easy to access and prepped?

Many hospitals and organizations are adopting Lean Six Sigma’s strategies to reduce the amount of errors and increase patient quality. In Toledo, Doctors tried to resuscitate the kidney, but it was rendered unusable, both sides have said. After a state investigation, the hospital’s live-donor program was temporarily suspended, but has since been resumed. Read full article

Based on the article noted above, The university at Toledo had “created a unique environment of safety in transplant and other programs that is second to none”.

This is a terrible way to learn and I know hospitals work diligently to avoid costly mistakes from both the patient’s experience and the reputation of the hospital. I would guess– they have changed the process in how they manage donor’s organs today and its something we can all learn from!

After all we are not in competition when it comes to saving lives, we are all in this together!

In Lean Six Sigma we are always looking at “continuous improvement”! Tell us some of the ways you see improvement in the transplant community?







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