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Wrong patient has kidney removed

Aug 17, 2016 | Surgical Errors

New Yorkers might be shocked to learn about a case in Massachusetts in which a doctor reportedly removed a kidney from the wrong patient. The incident reportedly occurred at St. Vincent Hospital in Worcester and is being investigated by the Massachusetts Department of Health.

Sources report that the hospital’s owner, Tenet Health, said that the incident happened because of a misidentification that happened elsewhere although the company didn’t indicate where it happened or how. According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, wrong-patient and wrong-site surgeries are never events, meaning that they are ones that should never happen.

Research has shown that wrong-patient and wrong-site surgeries happen at a rate of one out of every 112,000 surgeries. This means that an individual hospital will experience such an error around every five or 10 years. The Joint Commission, an accrediting agency for hospitals, recommends that surgical teams mark the area on the body before surgery as well as taking a timeout right before the procedure to double-check the surgery that is being performed as well as that the patient is the correct one. Issues may still happen if the wrong X-rays are sent for the patient or if the patient is misidentified before the procedure, however.

A person who has been injured in a surgical procedure because of medical errors may want to speak with an attorney about the advisability of filing a medical malpractice civil lawsuit. The types of damages that could be sought might include the medical expenses that had to be incurred in order to correct the mistake, lost wages, and other applicable amounts.

Source: CNN, "Surgeon accused of removing kidney from wrong patient", Elizabeth Cohen, Aug. 10, 2016