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Apparent surgical error results in removal of wrong organ

Patients in Washington, D.C. who undergo surgery are under anesthesia the whole time, meaning they are unconscious and helpless, their very lives placed in the surgeons' hands. With such high stakes, surgeons are expected to carefully review all pertinent information before every surgery to ensure they are fully prepared to perform each operation correctly and avoid surgical error. How frightening, then, to think that a surgeon might claim to have reviewed all appropriate documents and be familiar with a patient's case, only for the patient to awaken and find that the surgeon had removed a perfectly healthy organ instead of a cancerous tumor.

In another state, a recently filed medical malpractice lawsuit claims that this nightmare scenario is exactly what occurred. The patient, an 83-year-old man, has filed a civil suit against a hospital and several doctors, alleging that, during a surgery to remove a tumor attached to his right kidney, they instead took out his healthy left kidney. Additionally, the complaint alleges, members of the surgical team went so far as to falsely file reports stating that they had reviewed the medical records and pertinent documents before the operation took place.

A primary care nurse practitioner and two radiologists had initially diagnosed a cancerous tumor the size of a softball on the patient's right kidney. The surgery, described as non-emergency but life-saving, was intended to remove the tumor on the right while leaving the organ to continue to function. The patient's left kidney was healthy.

Initial reports all stated clearly that the surgical consult was for a renal tumor on the right. However, somewhere along the line, errors in the medical reports began cropping up, but none of the staff seemed to catch the mistakes. Despite the doctors' claims that they had reviewed old records and diagnostic imaging in preparation, the lawsuit alleges that both physicians proceeded to recklessly remove the patient's only healthy kidney and then attempted to cover up their surgical error afterwards. While a medical malpractice suit cannot bring back the man's kidney or health, attorneys can help anyone in Washington, D.C. who has similarly suffered due to the negligence of a physician or surgeon to fight for justice and compensation.

Source: eastidahonews.com, "Patient claims I.F. doctors mistakenly removed kidney instead of cancerous tumor", Stephan Rockefeller, April 19, 2017

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