Posted on May 12, 2013

Surgeons are the professionals we trust enough to put our lives in their hands, literally. A 76-year-old patient was on dialysis with two failed and diseased kidneys and his surgeon removed the wrong kidney.

In order to repair the incident, doctors removed the second failed kidney and according to a Mount Sinai spokeswoman , the patient is doing well.

The hospital refused to name the surgeon who mistakenly removed the wrong kidney, citing the Manhattan hospital policy not to comment on personnel issues.

Despite this error, the patient claims to have continued faith in the surgeon due a pre-existing relationship when the surgeon helped the patient overcome bladder cancer. 

The surgeon responsible for the mistake has been relieved of his clinical and administrative duties.

Can the surgeon truly be at fault? According to the New York Post article, wrong-side surgeries occur in hospitals all over the country as it is impossible to create a complete “mistake-proof” environment.

In a hospital in Minneapolis, in July of 2008, a surgeon accidentally removed the wrong kidney from a cancer patient. A Minneapolis state investigation discovered that when the surgeon made the mistake on the patient’s chart, he was distracted by beeper calls and a plethora of other patients.

This surgeon in question, in the Mount Sinai case, worked in a 12-story hospital with nearly 1,200 beds, which occupies four square blocks on the Upper East Side. As an employee with both medical and administrative duties it is not a farfetched idea that he made a simple mistake due to being overworked. Where does the blame truly lie, in the surgeon who committed the error or in the hospital that overworked him?

What do you think? Let me know below...

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Gerry Oginski
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NY Medical Malpractice & Personal Injury Trial Lawyer