No matter one’s social or economic background, every patient here in Massachusetts and everywhere else deserves the same care and diligence when it comes to serious health problems. Unfortunately, patients who are currently incarcerated do not have the option of seeking their own trusted medical care providers and must place their lives in the hands of the staff that the penal system has under contract. While the majority of these medical practitioners exercise the same care regardless of who their patients are, there was a recent incident where a surgical error has placed a man’s health in jeopardy.
According to the report, a patient needed surgery to remove one of his cancerous kidneys. The patient purportedly told his nurses that it was his right kidney that was diseased. The nurses and other support staff relayed this information to the surgeon. The physician had apparently left the patient’s medical records at another location, and he neither went to retrieve them or ordered additional tests to confirm which organ needed to be removed.
Instead, relying on his own memory and inaccurate information, the surgeon removed the man’s healthy right kidney. This egregious mistake necessitated the man undergoing additional surgery and may have a long-lasting, negative impact on his health. The hospital admitted fault and was fined $100,000.
The surgeon in this case was placed on a three-year probation for this terrible lapse in judgment. The medical board stated that the responsibility was on the surgeon to verify medical records and tests in order to avoid this type of surgical error. The patient whose health has now been compromised may elect to file a medical malpractice suit against the surgeon who is responsible for his increased pain and suffering. Massachusetts patients are likewise entitled to seek recompense for any monetary damages that result from medical mistakes.
Source: newser.com, “Surgeon Relies on Memory, Removes Wrong Kidney“, Arden Dier, Dec. 4, 2014