Woman Goes to Hospital for Back Surgery, But Doctor Removes Functioning Kidney

Woman Goes to Hospital for Back Surgery, But Doctor Removes Functioning Kidney

It sounds like an urban legend. A woman goes into a hospital for spinal surgery and, upon waking, finds out that one of her kidneys has been removed. It happened recently to a woman who went to a hospital for surgery on her back and also left without one of her kidneys.

During the spinal procedure, the surgeon noticed a mass in the woman’s pelvis, believed that it was a cancerous tumor and decided to cut it out, according to an administrative complaint from the Department of Health in the state in which the surgery occurred. But, the doctor was wrong, the mass wasn’t a tumor, it was one of her kidneys.

The woman sued the surgeon last year, claiming that the doctor and others at the hospital where the surgery was performed were medically negligent when they “unnecessarily removed” a “fully functioning” kidney. The kidney, which was on the woman’s left side, was a pelvic kidney, meaning that during fetal development, it did not move to the normal position in the upper abdominal area. MRI’s taken before the surgery indicated that the woman had a pelvic kidney.

According to the lawsuit, the doctor “deviated from the acceptable standards of medical care and treatment” during the surgery by failing to perform a “radiology review” or talk the matter over with the patient and seek informed consent before removing one of her organs. The doctor settled the lawsuit. He did not admit liability and reportedly indicated that he did not think that he had done anything wrong.

Now, the doctor also faces administrative charges. In December, the state’s Department of Health filed a complaint against the medical practitioner with the state Board of Medicine, charging that the pelvic kidney had nothing to do with the condition for which the patient was being treated, which, meant that the removal of the organ was considered to be “a medically unnecessary procedure.” The health department asked the board to consider suspending or revoking the surgeon’s medical license or putting him on probation.

Medical errors are one of the three leading causes of death in the United States – ranking behind cancer and heart disease. More than 250,000 people die each year because of medical mistakes. Even Baltimore, the home of some of the nation’s top hospitals and medical centers, experiences incidences of medical malpractice.

In Maryland, 836 to 1,862 hospital deaths occur each year that are due to preventable medical errors, Public Citizen has said in a report. While most doctors are competent, a small percentage of Maryland’s doctors are responsible for much of the payouts in medical malpractice cases.

An experienced Maryland attorney can help you to evaluate your Baltimore medical malpractice claim. The attorneys at The Law Offices of Thomas J. Maronick have experience representing people who need help after Baltimore medical errors have occurred. You can contact Thomas Maronick on his cellphone at 202.288.0167, the law office at 410.244.5068 or via our website for a free consultation.