Mr. Kim, who is in his mid-50s this year, lost the function on one of his kidneys about 25 years ago due to vascular stenosis. And in 2014, he was diagnosed with renal failure at the Catholic University of Seoul St. Mary’s Hospital and started peritoneal dialysis the following year.
To make matters worse, Kim was diagnosed with early kidney cancer in 2019 and removed the remaining kidney from his body.
Due to this condition, Mr. Kim has completely lost the function of his kidneys and cannot urinate. Hence, Mr.Kim’s body swells up in the afternoon because he cannot release his bodily byproducts such as urine. Mr. Kim spends eight hours at home every evening doing peritoneal dialysis to remove moisture and toxins from his body.
Still, Mr. Kim had hopes and expected to get a kidney transplant someday to live a normal life like everyone else.
This is because he had submitted documents to the hospital for a kidney transplant while receiving the procedure for dialysis back in 2015. For Mr. Kim, who lives alone without a family, the kidney transplant is urgent.
The average waiting time for a kidney transplant is about 5-6 years. Mr.Kim said when he asked how long he had to wait for the transplant, the medical staff would ask him how many years he had been waiting and since his 3rd or 4th year of dialysis, he told that he would soon receive a kidney donation.
However, in August last year, Mr. Kim, who thought he could get a transplant soon, received shocking news – He wasn’t registered as a kidney transplant candidate.
Mr.Kim said, “When I was hospitalized six years ago, the hospital said it was necessary to register as a transplant patient, so I filled it out and delivered the proper documentation. but when I recently checked with the hospital, I was not registered.“
This was due to a mistake made by the hospital. A hospital official explained, “The organ transplant center is in charge of registering organ transplant candidates, but it seems that Mr.Kim was not registered by mistake in 2015.”
The official said, “The medical staff, who confirmed the patient’s intention to register for a transplant, should have delivered the information to the organ transplant center, but they didn’t. We apologize.”
Mr.Kim, who belatedly learned of the fact that he was not registered, registered as a transplant candidate last year. However, according to the Statistical Yearbook of Organ Transplantation and Human Tissue Donation (2019), 25,465 patients are waiting for a kidney transplant like Mr.Kim, and the average waiting time for transplants is 2,196 days. therefore, Mr. Kim has to wait for another 5 to 6 years.
Mr. Kim asked the Seoul St. Mary’s Hospital and the National Institute of Long-term Tissue Blood Management, which oversees organ transplants, to adjust his wait time but was denied as they said it was impossible.
He also filed a complaint with the hospital since he has to wait many more years for a kidney transplant due to a hospital mistake. However, the hospital shows no signs of willingness to correct their mistake.
In addition, the Medical Dispute Mediation Arbitration Service says there is no way to help with this issue because it is not a medical accident.
The Catholic University of Seoul St. Mary’s Hospital offered 20 million KRW (~18,063.60 USD) in compensation in damages to Mr. Kim, who now has to wait many more years for a kidney transplant.
Mr. Kim said, “I just want related agencies to come forward, acknowledge the mistake the hospital made and correct them.”