The last thing a patient and their family need to hear from their doctor is that surgery is required to help alleviate the patient’s medical condition. For many the word surgery likely elicits anxiety. But, given the advances in medical technology, regulatory oversight and years surgeons spend in receiving their medical training, patients about to undergo surgery generally feel like they are in good hands. However, surgical errors can happen and cause serious harm to patients.
Pennsylvania residents may find it interesting to learn that recently a hospital was fined nearly $100,000 for removing a 53-year-old patient’s healthy kidney. In early January 2012 doctors found a cancerous mass on the 53-year-old’s right kidney. Initially, the scan identified the left kidney as the organ to be removed. However, the hospital allegedly corrected the error. Nevertheless, a few weeks later when the man underwent surgery, the wrong kidney was listed for removal. Even though the hospital had a policy in place wherein the doctor should refer to and check the patient radiology scans before surgery, apparently in this case the surgeon forgot his login information and bypassed the step.
The surgeon ended up removing the 53-year-old’s healthy kidney. Furthermore, the cancerous kidney also required removal. Due to the surgical error the man now requires dialysis, and will likely need it for the rest of his life. Rightfully so, as any Philadelphia surgical errors attorney would probably tell our readers, the 53-year-old man sued the hospital and several doctors for medical negligence and battery. Furthermore, apparently a month prior to this wrong kidney removal case, at the same hospital another surgeon almost removed the wrong testicle of a patient. In that case, the surgeon realized his mistake early enough to prevent harm. Even though the surgeon expressed regret to the 53-year-old patient in this case, the damage was already done.
Source: San Diego Union-Tribune, “Sharp fined for botched kidney removal,” Paul Sisson, Oct. 24, 2013