Hospital Removes Patient's Kidney by Accident

The patient had the same name as a patient with a kidney tumor
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 14, 2016 5:48 PM CDT
Hospital Removes Patient's Kidney on Accident

A surgeon removed a kidney from the wrong patient last July in what a Massachusetts hospital is calling a "deeply unfortunate situation," the Boston Globe reports. According to the Worcester Telegram, two patients with the same name had CT scans done in June. One of the scans showed a large tumor on the patient's kidney. Unfortunately, according to a federal report released Thursday, that CT scan was assigned to the wrong patient. The patient had surgery at Saint Vincent Hospital in July. During the operation, the surgeon found there was no tumor on the patient's kidney—unfortunately making that discovery only after said kidney was removed. The patient was later given a replacement kidney.

The hospital blamed the mistake on an outside physician, but the report faulted Saint Vincent for not verifying the patient's identity through their birth date or some other identifying feature prior to surgery. The AP notes the two patients were several years apart in age. The Department of Public Health investigated the hospital in August, finding a number of "serious safety lapses," including three other cases where patients weren't correctly identifying. The hospital is facing potential termination from Medicaid and Medicare programs. Saint Vincent says it's taking "all necessary steps" to avoid further problems, including training staff on how to make sure patients are who they are. (More surgery stories.)

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