Disaster At Montefiore Med Center Leads To Unprecedented Action, Then Hope

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — One of New York City’s most prestigious hospitals has been under fire recently after a transplant disaster late last month.

A woman giving a kidney to her brother died during the surgery, CBS 2’s Derricke Dennis reported.

However, late Wednesday night there was a stunning development, one that might just bring solace to a grieving family.

Roberto Medina of the Bronx had spent that last two-plus weeks heartbroken over the loss of his sister, Yolanda, who died on the operating table, trying to give him a kidney.

“It was the gift of life. It was supposed to be the happiest day of our life, and it’s the saddest one,” Medina said.

Yolanda Medina was 41, the picture of health and a mother of three who simply wanted to save her brother’s life. However, according to her family, Yolanda’s aorta was severed while on the operating table at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx on May 23.

She did not survive.

“Whatever happened, I mean only the doctor knows what happened in that OR,” Roberto Medina said.

The death forced Montefiore to suspend its live organ donor program indefinitely. A hospital spokesperson said: “This is a heartbreaking situation in so many ways, and our hearts are with the patient’s family during this difficult time … but in rare situations like this, it is still readily apparent that medicine is far from perfect. … In 40 years we have never experienced a loss such as this.”

“It’s something that is a simple surgery. It’s an hour and a half surgery, and this happens,” Robert Medina said.

His wife, Marybel, helped him through what had been an incredibly difficult few weeks. He never received his sister’s kidney, but had to bury her, and has remained on dialysis while he grieves.

“In the end, she passed away and he didn’t get a kidney, and now we’re back to square one,” Marybel Medina said.

When asked if he thinks he will ever get over the tragedy, Roberto Medina said, “never.”

But not long after the Medina spoke with CBS 2’s Dennis, the amazing happened. Roberto received a call about a new kidney and he and his wife raced back to the hospital.

It was a surprise development, but one the Medinas said Yolanda would have wanted for her brother.

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