In Massachusetts and across the United States, a common fear for people preparing to undergo surgery for any reason is that a careless surgeon will make a life-changing mistake. In some instances, these surgical errors cost the patient his or her life. While it’s not an expected occurrence and happens relatively rarely, it does happen. Those who have been harmed by this type of mistake need to know what to do after it happens.
A federal prisoner who had a tumor in his kidney was operated on to remove the organ. However, the surgeon performing the surgery on the 59-year-old patient removed the wrong kidney. The surgeon had had his license to practice for more than four decades and relied on his memory to determine which kidney was supposed to be removed because he didn’t have access to the man’s medical records. In addition, the information the doctor did have also had the wrong information. A CT scan was in the doctor’s office showing that it was the left kidney, but it was not brought to the doctor. The doctor who made the mistake was placed on probation for three years. The patient is at risk for problems with his renal function in the future and he had to have a second surgical procedure as a result of the careless surgeon.
It’s accepted that any surgical procedure can be dangerous, but one of the last things a patient or the patient’s family will expect is a surgeon mistake. An especially egregious error is when there is wrong-site surgery or an improper organ transplant. These mistakes are often due to a surgeon or medical professional simply not paying attention. When this happens, the patient’s entire life can be negatively affected. They might not be able to function normally or be able to work. This can cost a substantial amount of money for medical costs and treatment. It can even lead to fatality.
In this case, the federal inmate had the wrong kidney removed when the surgeon trusted his memory rather than the actual record. The inmate is still alive, but could face health problems in the future. When this type of surgeon mistake happens, it’s imperative to consider litigation with help from a legal professional.
Source: OCRegister.com, “Surgeon disciplined for removing inmate’s good kidney, leaving tumorous one,” Jenna Chandler, Dec. 2, 2014