Oops? Surgeon Removes Wrong Patient’s Kidney


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Thomas Phippen Associate Editor
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A surgeon removed a kidney from a patient who didn’t need kidney surgery, and the case is now being investigated.

A physician not connected to the St. Vincent Hospital allegedly scheduled a kidney surgery for a patient who didn’t need it, according to a statement from the hospital. It was first reported by the Worcester Telegram.

“This is a deeply unfortunate situation involving patient misidentification that took place outside of our hospital and did not involve our employees,” the hospital said in a statement.

“Our staff followed proper protocols in preparing for and performing the surgery, which was scheduled by the patient’s physician at our hospital,” the statement said. “Saint Vincent Hospital is committed to providing safe, high-quality care to every patient who enters our doors. We are saddened that this incident occurred and our leadership continues to assure the individual receives the support and care needed.”

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health are investigating the event, and said St. Vincent reported the mistake appropriately. “We are aware of this serious allegation, and are investigating in line with our state and federal authority,” Scott Zuback, a spokesman for Department of Public Health, told the Telegram in a statement.

Performing surgery on the wrong patient is a “never event,” an error that “should never occur and indicate[s] serious underlying safety problems,’ according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

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