A Florida medical malpractice lawsuit was filed against a general surgeon participating in the plaintiff’s back surgery on April 29, 2016, for allegedly removing one of her kidneys because the surgeon wrongfully thought that it was cancerous. The plaintiff had met the defendant surgeon just before being wheeled into the operating room. The defendant general surgeon’s sole role in the surgery was supposed to be opening the surgery site so that the defendant orthopedic surgeons performing her fusion surgery had access to the lumbar area.
The Florida medical malpractice lawsuit was reportedly settled for “a nominal amount” by the defendant surgeon, who did not have medical malpractice insurance, and by the two defendant orthopedic surgeons for $250,000 each.
The defendant general surgeon was properly preparing the enry point for the back surgery that involved entering from the front of the plaintiff’s body. As the defendant general surgeon was preparing the lower back for the orthopedic surgeons, he saw what he thought was a malignant mass in the plaintiff’s pelvis that he decided to surgically remove. However, a pathologist determined a month later that the alleged tumor was in fact the woman’s healthy pelvic kidney (a pelvic kidney is an undescended kidney that failed to descend into the usual position in the abdomen during fetal development).
The defendant general surgeon blamed the hospital for failing to advise him before the surgery that the woman had a pelvic kidney, which was shown on two MRIs performed before surgery that the defendant general surgeon failed to review before the surgery.
The plaintiff complained that the defendant general surgeon failed to obtain her consent for removal of her pelvic kidney.
The Florida Department of Health filed an Administrative Complaint in December 2017 against the general surgeon, alleging that the general surgeon performed a medically unnecsssary procedure on the 51-year-old woman by removing a pelvic kidney during a lumbar fusion.
The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality stated in an article appearing in PSNet (Patient Safety Network) entitled “Wrong-Site, Wrong-Procedure, and Wrong-Patient Surgery” that “These “wrong-site, wrong-procedure, wrong-patient errors” (WSPEs) are rightly termed never events—errors that should never occur and indicate serious underlying safety problems … A seminal study estimated that such errors occur in approximately 1 of 112,000 surgical procedures, infrequent enough that an individual hospital would only experience one such error every 5–10 years. However, this estimate only included procedures performed in the operating room; if procedures performed in other settings (for example, ambulatory surgery or interventional radiology) are included, the rate of such errors may be significantly higher. One study using Veterans Affairs data found that fully half of WSPEs occurred during procedures outside of the operating room.”
If you or a loved one have been injured due to surgery on the wrong site, surgery on the wrong patient, or the wrong surgical procedure in Florida or in another U.S. state, you may be entitled to monetary compensation for the harm you suffered.
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