Archive for Tuesday, September 26, 1995


September 26, 1995


A state government audit report is due today on the suspended heart transplant program at the Kansas University Medical Center.

The Legislative Post Audit Committee will convene at KUMC in Kansas City, Kan., to receive a report examining conditions that prompted KU to pull the plug on the transplant program in April.

A peer review panel appointed by KU's chancellor released its findings last week. The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations completed its assessment a month ago.

"I expect many of the same conclusions, but with more detail," KU Chancellor Robert Hemenway said.

At issue is why KUMC failed to perform heart transplants from May 1994 to March 1995.

During that period, KUMC refused offers of 45 donor hearts. Meanwhile, patients were added to the medical center's transplant waiting list.

Previous assessments faulted medical center officials for lack of communication among people involved with heart transplants. A nursing staff shortage also may have been a contributing factor.

Dr. Donald Hagen, the medical center's executive vice chancellor, said reviving the heart transplant operation may not be in KUMC's best interest.

The peer review committee concluded that the transplant network played "little or no role" in KUMC's teaching mission. In addition, no significant medical center research was associated with heart transplants.

KUMC's transplant program went operational in 1984. Eighty transplants were performed over 10 years.

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