Patients in Colorado may be worried about their own future operations after learning about a case when a woman lost her healthy kidney because a surgeon mistook it for a cancerous tumor. During what was scheduled to be a routine back surgery in April 2016, the 51-year-old woman checked into a local hospital. She was seeking a fusion of bones in her lower back after she had been injured in a car accident. However, when she went into surgery, the physician performing the operation identified her kidney and proclaimed it to be a tumor, declaring the situation an emergency and removing it immediately.
The situation came to light after a medical malpractice lawsuit filed by the patient was settled. In fact, the man who removed her kidney was only scheduled to perform the initial incision; specialist surgeons were to perform her procedure. However, the surgeon who wrongly removed the woman’s kidney and who faces charges from the Florida Health Department as a result is serving as the chair of surgery at another hospital. The physician has privileges at several hospitals, but he could be at risk of a fine or other discipline as a result of the case. He had a record free of previous disciplinary actions prior to this incident.
Surgical errors involving operating on the wrong body part, performing the wrong procedure or conducting surgery on the wrong patient, are called “never events”. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality says that this means that they should never occur.
Surgical errors can lead to lifelong difficulties and serious damage to a patient’s health. People who have suffered a worsened health condition due to a physician’s error can consult with a medical malpractice attorney about taking legal action to seek compensation for their damages.