Surgeon Removes A Kidney From The Wrong Patient

Lever & Ecker, PLLC January 20, 2017 General

The Department of Health has confirmed that they are looking into allegations that a doctor’s mistake resulted in a healthy kidney being removed from a patient, although representatives from the hospital where the surgery was performed claim that their surgeon is not at fault.

Unnecessary Surgery

What has been determined so far is that in July of 2016, a patient was informed that they had a tumor on one of their kidneys. The doctor who diagnosed the condition recommended complete surgical excision of the organ and further testing to determine if the tumor was malignant or not.kidneys that may have a tumor

The surgery was scheduled and the patient had the kidney removed at the hospital their doctor suggested.

What the biopsy revealed, however, was a very different story – the kidney was perfectly healthy.

Naturally, the patient began asking questions. A look into the matter revealed that the CT scan used to diagnose the tumor was correct – there was a tumor present. However, the CT scan was of another patient with the same name. This means that not only did the wrong patient have a normal body part unnecessarily removed but the patient who has a tumor had their diagnosis delayed which, if the tumor is malignant, could put their life at risk.

The surgeon and the hospital where he works claim that they did everything they could to prepare appropriately for the surgery and that the negligence rests with the doctor who made the referral.

Mistakes Are Common

While most patients would like to think this sort of thing is a rare occurrence, the fact is that it’s not. New York state is among the top five states in regard to the number of medical malpractice claims filed every year and it has been estimated that medical mistakes result in the death of nearly 15,000 New Yorkers every year.

While it might be easy to say “Well, the patients had the same name, that’s understandable.”, the fact is that doctors, nurses, and hospitals should always identify a patient by more than their name, especially when they have access to medical histories, blood types, and birth dates. It is their job to make sure that all information is correct before performing medical procedures that could change a patient’s life. If they fail to do this and a mistake is made, they can be held legally liable.

Frequent Issues

The most common mistakes made by doctors in New York include:

  • anesthesia mistakes
  • birth injuries (to both mother and child)
  • HIV exposure
  • cancer misdiagnosis
  • prescription errors
  • surgical mistakes

These mistakes can not only kill a patient, they can result in permanent damage that requires lifelong care and end a promising career.

Medical Malpractice Lawsuits

Patients who have been harmed by a medical professional’s mistake have the right to seek compensation for the losses they have endured. This may include coverage for:surgery where a mistake could be made

  • the emotional trauma that they have experienced
  • medical bills
  • wages lost due to an inability to work
  • any physical pain and suffering that was caused by the mistake

There is a statute of limitations for this form of complaint. In New York, plaintiffs can file within 2 ½ years from the date that the malpractice took place or from the end of a course of treatment prescribed by the negligent party. If the malpractice involves a foreign object that was left inside of the patient’s body, they have the right to file within one year of when the object was discovered.

How Can A Plaintiff Prove Fault?

In order to have a legitimate claim the plaintiff and their legal team must show the following:

  1. That a doctor / patient relationship existed.
  2. That the defendant owed a duty to the plaintiff. This means that it was their responsibility to follow the appropriate standard of care based on the patient’s symptoms, age, sex, weight, and medical conditions.
  3. That the defendant breached the duty that they owed the plaintiff.
  4. That this specific breach caused the plaintiff’s injury.
  5. That the plaintiff suffered losses because of the injury that they sustained.

The best way to prove fault is to collect as much evidence as possible. This can be difficult, however, and the best way to preserve evidence is to work with an experienced medical malpractice attorney.

Do I Have A Case If I Signed A Consent Form?

Yes. Signing a consent form simply means that you have agreed to the course of treatment that was recommended to you. It does not mean that a doctor is no longer liable for the mistakes that they made.How Do Surgical Mistakes Happen?