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Mistaken identity leads to erroneous organ removal

While Massachusetts residents deserve the right to feel safe in the care provided by their medical professionals, the realities of life show that sometimes such feelings of safety are not warranted. A recent report from the Harvard Business Review suggests that as many as 200,000 people in the United States die every year from surgically related issues. These may arise during operations or after operations but either way, the number is alarming.

St. Vincent Hospital in Worcester, Massachusetts, was recently the location of a very serious surgical error. Although the patient in this situation did not die, a kidney was taken out of a person who should never have had a kidney removed. Somehow, the identify of the patient was mistaken and the surgeon operated on the wrong person. According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, events like this are quite rare with a particular facility expected to experience one only every five to 10 years.

This incident falls under a class of medical errors identified as "never events" meaning that they should never be allowed to happen. Occurence of such events is considered to point to the presence of a serious patient safety problem at the facility. The Massachusetts Department of Health is working with federal and state agencies to investigate this most current error.

Massachusetts patients who believe that they have been the victim of a surgical error may want to talk to an attorney to learn how they might pursue compensation after such a situation.

Source: CNN, "Surgeon accused of removing kidney from wrong patient," Elizabeth Cohen, August 10, 2016

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