Say What Now? Massachusetts Surgeon Accidentally Removes a Kidney from the Wrong Patient


A surgeon at a Massachusetts hospital made a major mistake by removing a healthy kidney from someone who had the same name as the patient with the tumor.

via NYDN:

State and federal health investigators found that the doctor at St. Vincent Hospital in Worcester failed to confirm the patient’s identity before the medical mix-up in July.

The doctor did examine a CT scan before surgery, which showed the tumor on the kidney, according to the Boston Globe. However, the scan was from the wrong patient.

The mistake was not discovered until after tests were done on the kidney after it was removed, according to the newspaper.

The hospital failed to follow proper patient identification protocols by checking birth dates, authorities say. Even though the patients had the same name, they were several years apart in age.

St. Vincent has been told that Medicare and Medicaid agreements with the government will be terminated unless it takes corrective action.

“The department expects the hospital to take immediate steps to address the findings of the investigation and will continue to monitor follow-up through unannounced inspections,” the state Department of Public Health said,according to the newspaper.

The hospital in a statement said it is taking “all necessary steps” to prevent a similar mistake.

“We are working to implement enhanced safeguards as identified in the CMS survey, including additional verification steps with physicians,” read the statement.

The identity of the patients involved were not released due to privacy laws.

This sounds like a lawsuit to us.

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