When the Wrong Body Part Is Removed

Operating room with staff and patient

There are certain things that should never happen when you are in a hospital’s care. These things are called “never events” for precisely that reason. They include operating on the wrong body part, leaving instruments or sponges behind in a surgical patient, and surgery performed on the wrong patient, among other things. These events represent the greatest failures possible in medical care and should be treated with a swift and heavy hand when they occur.

Such an event recently came to light from one of the nation’s most well-known hospitals—Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City. Although the hospital hasn’t released the patient’s name, the doctor involved, or when the event happened, their sharing of what information they have made public is a step in the right direction.

According to NBC New York, a 76-year-old man had two diseased kidneys, one of which was scheduled to be removed in surgery. However, when the patient went under the knife, the surgeon in charge performed surgery on the wrong body part, resulting in the removal of the wrong kidney from the elderly man.

Repercussions for Surgical Errors

The hospital administration has said the surgeon no longer works there—that he had been let go. They also say they apologized to the patient but that the patient still has “enormous faith” in the surgeon who reportedly helped the patient with an earlier bout with bladder cancer.

“This event should never have occurred,” said a spokesperson. “We apologized to the patient, and we will do all we can to ensure that something like this never happens again.”

Just because this sort of mistake is known as a “never event” doesn’t mean that it never happens. As a matter of fact, such mistakes are more common than we likely know. As ABC New York reports, a similar mistake was made in 2008 at a Minneapolis hospital when a surgeon removed the wrong kidney when he was distracted by beeper calls.

We expect surgeons and all hospital staff to have our care at the forefront of their minds whether we are going in for surgery or a check-up. To know such a serious error can be made when a doctor is distracted by his beeper is troubling indeed.

Though mistakes like this should never happen, they do. And when they do, you need someone on your side that can help you recover.

Indianapolis Hospital Malpractice Lawyer

If you or a loved one is the victim of malpractice, the Indianapolis medical malpractice attorney at the Law Office of Kelley J. Johnson may be able to help. Contact us today for a free consultation on your case by calling 833-4MEDMAL.

Injured patients and their families need solid legal guidance after a serious medical error. At the Law Office of Kelley J. Johnson, we listen attentively to our clients’ questions and concerns. Our goal is to help them move forward after devastating, even fatal medical errors.