Man Tries to Move on After Surgical Error, Files Lawsuit
After consulting a urologist for a growth on his testicles, a man was told he had a “suspicious, and likely cancerous, growth on his left kidney,” Dallas Observer said June 12, 2014. He is now suing his doctor and a radiologist, who have a total of 40 years of medical experience, for misreading an X-ray and removing the wrong organ.
“Modern medical practices and standards of care prevent these sort of things from happening, but when they do, they’re horrific medical mistakes,” his attorney told a CBS affiliate.
The now-55-year-old patient’s urologist apologized, and another doctor has since removed the cancerous part of his right kidney, but he and his wife are left wondering how a healthcare provider could make such an error and what will happen to their family if his cancer returns before he’s eligible for a transplant in four years.
“There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about this,” he told reporters.
One Surgeon Talks About an Error
In 2010 for the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) and again in June 2014 for Out Patient Surgery, Dr. David Ring discussed the fact that he once performed the wrong procedure on a patient. He attributed the mistake to the operating room and his nurse being changed at the last minute, only part of the surgical team participating in the hospital’s mandatory time-out session, communication problems between himself and a Spanish-speaking nurse, and marking the limb rather than the site. In this case, he performed carpal tunnel surgery rather than a trigger finger release.
“Even in my darkest hour, I knew that I had to talk about this error
and learn from it so that other patients and other operative teams would
be safe,” he said.
He now tells hospitals to be accountable, to expect to err and therefore implement safety checklists and all-inclusive time-outs, to catch the mistake before it happens, and to talk about what happened.
“When little things go wrong and the patient is unscathed, we shouldn’t be complacent and happy that things worked out,” he said. “We should say, ‘Hey, I bet we can learn from every single little thing that didn’t go exactly as we wanted it to go.'”
If you have questions about a surgical error, attorney Chris Mellino welcomes you to contact our Cleveland office for a free consultation before Ohio’s statute of limitations expires in your potential claim. You can learn more about us by reading testimonials and a sampling of case results or by downloading Chris’ free, easy-to-read guide to filing a claim.