Simple device could have saved young kidney donor’s life – NBC Bay Area


Watch Part 1: A simple device could have saved the life of a young kidney donor

A 28-year-old man tried to save his sister’s life by donating her kidney, but instead lost his life after surgery. A Danville family speaks out for the first time about how a simple, inexpensive device could have made all the difference. Reporting by Jessica Aguirre.

Watch Part 2: Dozens of Mistakes Caused Young Hospital Patient’s Death, Court Rules

Documents obtained by the NBC Bay Area Investigative Unit show that UCSF medical staff nearly quadrupled a young patient’s opioid medication, then failed to monitor him with a pulse oximeter, a simple medical device that would have alerted them if his blood oxygen levels had dropped to a dangerously low level. level. Reporting by Jessica Aguirre.


When Anders Pederson learned that his sister, Kelly, was suffering from kidney failure and would need a transplant, he volunteered to donate to her immediately. Anders was 28 years old and in good health. Kelly has always been his best friend and mentor. “You know, people have their partners who are their twin flames. Anders was my twin flame,” Kelly said. “We were like twins.” Even when Kelly’s boyfriend, Mark Jackson, and several other friends said they’d be happy to donate their kidneys to save her, Kelly-Anders insisted. Mark recalled what Anders said, “I appreciate that you kind of stepped in for my sister, but it’s not you…I’m doing this.”


A little after 8 a.m. on a Friday morning in October 2015, doctors at UCSF made the first incision to remove Anders’ kidney and transplant it into Kelly. It was the culmination of a year-long process of finding the best medical facility, then going through extensive medical evaluations to determine if Anders was a match — and healthy enough to donate a kidney. Melissa Pederson anxiously awaited news. “Oh, it was long. It was long,” she said of the wait. “It was scary.” It was nearly 1:30 p.m. when she learned from the doctors that the transplant had gone perfectly well. But less than 24 hours later, as brother and sister recover from each other in the hospital hallway, Anders, 28, in good health, considered by nursing staff to be the “worst patient upstairs”, went into cardiac arrest. A Code Blue medical team manages to revive him, but nine days later it is clear to everyone that his brain is too damaged and the family is forced to make the painful decision to stop life support.


The Patient Safety Movement estimates that 250,000 patients die each year in US hospitals due to preventable errors. Many of these errors, said Dr. Mike Ramsay, CEO of the nonprofit, are prescription errors. In the case of Anders Pederson, a University of California pharmacologist would later testify in court that within hours of the operation, when Anders complained of severe pain, a nurse practitioner changed his medications. and made a critical miscalculation that quadrupled the opioid dose. Anders was receiving from a patient-controlled delivery device.


Dr. William Klein, a board-certified internist specializing in respiratory diseases, told the NBC Bay Area Investigative Unit that UCSF fell below the standard of care in treating Anders Pederson after surgery. Not only did the hospital not monitor Anders for nearly five hours as he succumbed to the effects of opioids in his system, the hospital did not put a readily available monitoring device on Anders. Known as a pulse oximeter, the monitor is worn on the finger and can alert hospital staff if a patient’s blood oxygen has dropped to a dangerously low level. It can also provide instant pulse and blood pressure information, two vital indicators of a patient’s condition.


Melissa Pederson describes how her daughter’s kidney problems started.

The Pederson family had dreamed of a better life after the kidney transplant.

When her brother insisted on donating her kidney, Kelly Pederson became concerned for her health.

Melissa Pederson remembers her son’s decision to donate a kidney to his sister.

After donating a kidney to his sister, Anders Pederson told his mother it was the happiest day of his life.

Kelly and Anders had big plans for the weeks they would spend recovering from their kidney operations.

Melissa Pederson recounts the moments before her son stopped breathing in his hospital room.

As a Code Blue emergency alarm goes off at the hospital, Kelly Pederson feels like she can’t breathe.


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