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Medical Malpractice Suit Filed Over Transplant

Family of man who died during surgery to donate kidney files medical malpractice suit against doctor.

Surgeon Barry Blitz, who removed the kidney of now-deceased Cape Coral man John Donaldson, is being sued by Donaldson's wife Christine, who claims the surgeon failed to take appropriate life-saving measures when her husband suffered heavy bleeding following the April 17 procedure. "As a direct and proximate result of the negligence of (Dr. Blitz), John Donaldson...suffered significant blood loss resulting in his death," states the medical malpractice suit, which was filed in Lee County Circuit Court. Blitz's employer, 21st Century Oncology, was also named as a defendant. The surgery took place at the Lee Memorial Health System-operated Gulf Coast Medical Center, but the health system is not named in the lawsuit. The live donor kidney transplant program at Gulf Coast has been on hold since Donaldson's death. A representative for 21st Century Oncology did not return a request for comment. Christine Donaldson also could not be reached for comment. Her Fort Lauderdale-area attorney did not respond to interview requests. Donaldson, 40, underwent the surgery, known as a laparoscopic donor nephrectomy, on April 16 last year. He was donating the kidney to his 69-year-old father, Frank. Frank Donaldson received the kidney, in a surgery performed by a different doctor, and has fully recovered. Frank Donaldson said Thursday he is not a party in the lawsuit and could not comment about it. After the kidney was removed, John Donaldson's blood pressure dropped and experienced "significant bleeding," the lawsuit states. Doctors then performed an exploratory laparotomy -- a diagnostic examination of the abdomen -- and attempted to stop the bleeding, the lawsuit continues. The Lee County Medical Examiner's Office concluded that a ligature binding a renal artery stump failed after Donaldson's left kidney was removed. The live-donor kidney transplant program at Gulf Coast is expected to be on hold until later this year, as Lee Memorial retools the program. Originally posted by Frank Gluck on Medical Malpractice Suit - Ball & Bonholtzer Trial Attorney - Los Angeles

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