Surgeon removes kidney by mistake, thinks it's a tumour
A doctor in Florida removed a woman's kidney during her spine surgery because he mistook it for a cancerous tumor.
The incident occurred in 2016, when surgeon Dr Ramon Vazquez was operating upon Maureen Pacheco, then 51, at Wellington Regional Medical Center. Vazquez noticed a mass when he exposed Pacheco's pelvic area in preparation for her spinal procedure. He assumed it to be a "gynecologic malignancy" or similar and "clipped, transected and removed (the kidney) in its entirety," State of Florida Department of Health's complaint stated.
Later, a pathologist confirmed that the mass was a pelvic kidney which was normal but aside from its location and not related to Pacheco's spine condition. The complaint, filed December 15, 2017, on Pacheco's behalf claimed Vazquez failed to review MRI images clearly showing the pelvic kidney, The Palm Beach Post reported.
"As you can imagine, when someone goes in for a back surgery, she would never expect to wake up and be told that one of her kidney's has been unnecessarily removed," Pacheco's attorney, Donald J Ward, told The Post, stated MSN reports.
The case was settled in September. Vazquez's attorney, Mark Mittelmark said, "The case was settled on [Vazquez's] behalf for a nominal amount due to the uncertainty of litigation and in no way did [he] admit liability by agreeing to this settlement."
Commenting on the grave error, the National Kidney Foundation reported that although most people live a healthy life with just one kidney, long term problems such as high blood pressure and a loss in kidney function may occur.