There is a lot of preparation that goes into surgical procedures. Patients may have to go in for multiple tests, imaging, diagnostic exams, and prep to make sure the surgery goes well. Doctors are also supposed to get informed consent from patients, to make sure patients understand the risks of the procedure. However, there are some risks that patients do not expect that could cause permanent injury.
Kidney Removal Surgery
When an 85-year-old patient went into the hospital for surgery, he was expecting the surgeon to remove a kidney. His doctors had found a cancerous tumor on his kidney and were going to remove the organ to prevent further damage or the spread of cancer. When the patient was going under anesthesia, the surgeon marked an area on the patient’s ride side in the kidney area. However, the left kidney was the one to be removed.
After surgery, the kidney was sent to a pathologist. The pathologist found no cancerous tumor because the surgeon had removed the wrong organ. When the patient awoke, he found out that the surgeon had removed the wrong kidney. The doctor took out a healthy kidney and left the cancerous kidney in place. As a result, the patient lost both kidneys and lost kidney function, requiring dialysis for the rest of his life.
Investigation Into the Wrong Organ Removal
After hospital staff discovered the mistake, the incident was reported to the department of health for investigation. During the investigation, the surgeon said that he had access to the CT scan that would have confirmed which kidney was to be removed. However, the surgeon did not think the CT image was relevant, even though it may have prevented the wrong site surgery. The department of health confirmed that the mistake could have been prevented if the surgeon had looked at the images.
The kidneys provide important waste removal functions. The kidneys remove waste products and excess fluid, releasing waste and fluid through urine. Kidney function is necessary to maintain a balance of body chemicals, including electrolytes and acid levels. The kidneys also provide hormones for other organ functions.
Most people are born with 2 kidneys, one on either side of the spine. The kidney is necessary for proper body function but patients can live healthy lives with only 1 kidney. This allows people to donate a healthy kidney to someone in need of a kidney, and still function with just one remaining kidney.
Kidney removal is known as a nephrectomy. Nephrectomy is generally performed to treat cancer or remove a tumor. The decision whether or not to remove a kidney may be based on imaging tests, to determine whether the cancer is confined to the kidney, how well the kidney functions, and whether there is another functioning kidney. Imaging tests include:
- Computerized tomography (CT)
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
Wrong Side Surgery Malpractice in Philadelphia
Wrong side surgery is more common than other surgical errors, which include wrong site surgery, wrong procedure, and wrong patient. All these types of surgical errors can cause serious harm to patients. These mistakes are generally preventable and patients should not have to suffer the costs and burdens of these medical errors.
At Gilman & Bedigian, we are committed to helping patients and families who have suffered at the hands of improper care. To speak with a member of our medical injury team, fill out an online case evaluation form or call (800) 529-6162 today.