Delay Apparently Related To Not Having All Necessary Approvals In Place

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Talk about a roller coaster of emotions. The surgery for the Bronx man whose sister died while trying to donate a kidney to him has now been called off.

For how long remains to be seen.

It’s been a devastating ordeal for Roberto Medina, but his family is still hoping for a happy ending, CBS 2’s Tony Aiello reported.

The hospital, Montefiore Medical Center, did not give a reason for the postponement, but Helen Irving, President and CEO of the New York Organ Donor Network had the following to say late Thursday night:

“Unfortunately, the patient in question will not be able to receive an organ as soon as we had hoped.  We hope to have all of the approvals in place shortly. I have been impressed by the unity, support and commitment of the transplant community in wishing to pursue this rare request. Our thoughts are with the patient and his family at this difficult time.”

“He’s very nervous. He’s probably very scared, but he’s giving us strength with his positive outlook on this,” Luis Malave, Medina’s cousin, said earlier in the day before anyone knew he’d end up having to wait a little longer.

Yolanda Medina and her brother shared a bond so strong, she volunteered to give him a kidney, but she died during the removal procedure.

Roberto Medina could barely speak about the tragedy on Wednesday night. His sister died at Montefiore two weeks ago, on the operating table. An apparent medical mistake caused a fatal injury to her aorta.

“The gift of life. It was supposed to be the happiest day of our lives and it was the saddest one,” Roberto told CBS 2’s Derricke Dennis on Wednesday.

However, just minutes after that interview his phone rang, and Roberto and his wife, Marybel, rushed to the hospital. At the time, CBS 2 had learned the Regional Transplant Network agreed to what is called a “compassionate organ donation,” prioritizing his case in light of all he’s been through.

“Amazing, just heaven sent. This is Yolanda watching over us,” Marybel had said.

Doctors had reportedly picked up the kidney from a deceased donor and were scheduled to transplant it later Thursday, but due to the unforeseen issue the plan had to be temporarily scrapped.

Because of Yolanda’s death the family said there is some lingering anger toward the hospital, but there’s also gratitude for the efforts the staff has been making for Roberto.

“We’re very happy that his sister’s life was not in vain, though we did lose her. Something good came out of this and it’s the fact the hospital has taken the steps necessary to make sure that he’s still around for his family, his boys,” Malave said.

After so much grief and frustration, the family remains filled with hope.

Montefiore Medical Center said this case was the first time in its history a living donor died during kidney removal surgery.

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