A surgeon at St. Vincent Hospital in Worcester, Mass., removed the wrong man’s kidney in a case of mistaken identity, and now the hospital is at risk of losing Medicaid and Medicare funding, the Worcester Telegram reports.
An investigation revealed that two patients with the same name, but different birthdays, were in St. Vincent hospital at the same time. One was supposed to have a tumorous kidney removed based on scans from another hospital. But during surgery at St. Vincent hospital July 20, the doctor realized the kidney he extracted looked healthy. (RELATED: Oops? Surgeon Removes The Wrong Man’s Kidney)
Nurses in charge of admitting patients to the operating room said they don’t always receive the doctor’s notes and other scans; procedure dictates they confirm imagery before sending a patient into surgery.
The patient’s “admission and plan for surgery to remove the tumorous kidney was based on another patient’s Computerized Tomography (CT) scan results, in error,” the Massachusetts Department of Public Health’s Division of Health Care Facility Licensure said in its investigation, according to the Telegram. (RELATED: When Your Kidney Is Removed By Mistake, Who Is Responsible?)
“We are working to implement enhanced safeguards as identified in the [Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services] survey, including additional verification steps with physicians,” St. Vincent spokeswoman Erica Noonan told the Telegram. “This was a deeply unfortunate situation and we will take all steps necessary to prevent it from happening again.”
In the future, the hospital plans to have “all surgical cases which are deemed clinically necessary based on an imaging study, have the images available, present (displayed) prior to the surgery to verify the patient’s name, date of birth, surgical site and side,” the investigation notes.
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