Medical Malpractice and Personal Injury Law Blog

Man Sues Doctors and Hospital for Mistakenly Removing Healthy Kidney Instead of Cancerous Tumor

Posted by Briggs Bedigian | Apr 27, 2017 | 0 Comments

A new Idaho medical malpractice lawsuit alleges that surgeons made a huge mistake while operating on a man that could have cost him his life.

According to Roland Smith's lawsuit, he underwent a procedure conducted by a surgical team at the Mountain View Hospital. Physicians Roger Tall and David Chamberlain, the defendants in the case, and other staff were supposed to remove a massive cancerous tumor close to Smith's kidney. But shortly after the procedure Smith was informed that the team had removed his healthy left kidney instead. The 83-year-old also alleges that the two doctors fabricated medical reports claiming that they looked over the appropriate paperwork prior to initiating the procedure.

Smith's surgery was scheduled last year on August 23. Before Smith had known of his condition, he had recalled experiencing concerning symptoms that led him to admit himself into the hospital. After thorough examinations and tests, two radiologists and his primary care nurse practitioner declared the same diagnosis: a life-threatening tumor on one of his kidneys. Smith claims that in all the medical documents, the diagnosis' “clearly and unequivocally stated the tumor was on Smith's right kidney,” along with a detailed description of the repercussions that could occur if the cancer progressed or spread any further. The surgery was intended to completely remove the tumor attached to Smith's right kidney. If executed successfully, this procedure was expected to significantly prolong his life. His civil complaint characterized the operation as a “straightforward and non-emergency, yet life-saving, surgical procedure.”

The lawsuit also alleged that unnoticed medical errors carried out by medical staff over a span of a few months led to the mishap. Two months before the surgery, Tall was reported to have made the first error, documenting an update of Smith's medical history as a “left renal tumor.” The hospital soon followed suit by writing the same words on the admitting diagnosis. It wasn't until after the surgery was over that they realized they had been prepping for the wrong procedure for months. On the day of the surgery, the surgical team prepared the left side of Smith's body, and used a robot equipped with a camera to perform the operation. Smith's lawsuit claims that they could have easily located the tumor on the outside of his right kidney but they did not. After the healthy kidney was removed and sent to the pathology department, the doctors received the news that the organ was entirely normal.

Smith has accused the doctors of “failing to review X-years, notes written by a sonographer and a renal artery study, all of which identify the right kidney.” He has also accused Mountain View Hospital of not adhering the the proper protocol that would have easily prevented the alleged medical malpractice from occurring.

About the Author

Briggs Bedigian

H. Briggs Bedigian (“Briggs”) is a founding partner of Gilman & Bedigian, LLC.  Prior to forming Gilman & Bedigian, LLC, Briggs was a partner at Wais, Vogelstein and Bedigian, LLC, where he was the head of the firm's litigation practice.  Briggs' legal practice is focused on representing clients involved in medical malpractice and catastrophic personal injury cases. 

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