Compound Error

A South Dakota woman entered a hospital to have surgery to remove her adrenal gland and an associated mass.

Instead, the doctor removed her kidney.

Her healthy kidney.

And not the adrenal gland and mass.

Ben Casey this doctor was not

And only got around to telling her about his mistake when she was being discharged.

Even though the clueless doctor was informed about his mistake by the hospital’s pathology department shortly after the surgery.

“Hey, doc, I think we have a situation here.”

The woman went to another hospital to get the surgery she still needed and then sued the doctor and the hospital, claiming they were negligent both for removing the wrong thing and then for not telling her right away.

In response, the doctor and the hospital denied that they breached the standard of care by removing the healthy kidney and denied that they caused the patient any harm.

Because making a mistake that cost a patient a healthy kidney and necessitated a second surgery apparently does not, in the eyes of this doctor and this hospital, constitute harm.

Amazing, isn’t it?  The Curmudgeon once had something removed surgically and every person he ran into that day, from the time he entered the pre-op area until he was on the operating table waiting to be put under, asked him “Which side?”  The surgeon came to visit him while he was still in pre-op, being hooked up to an IV, and drew a big circle in bold purple marker atop the body part to be removed.

The bigger question in this case is why this doctor is still permitted to perform surgery.

Or is still permitted to practice medicine, for that matter.

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