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NYC Surgeon Fired After Removing Wrong Kidney from Patient

Update Date: May 10, 2013 01:35 PM EDT
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A surgeon at Mount Sinai Medical Center, one of New York City's most esteemed hospitals, has been summarily dismissed from his duties after it came to light that he removed the wrong kidney from a patient.

According to NBC New York, the patient was a 76-year-old man on dialysis. He had two diseased and failed kidneys. However, the surgeon removed the wrong one.

Mount Sinai Medical Center says that the man received a correction for the surgery, and the correct kidney has since been replaced. The hospital says that the patient is doing well.

The hospital would not say when the erroneous procedure had taken place. The facility would also not name the surgeon, saying that they do not speak about personnel issues. The hospital also refused to say how they found out about the surgical error.

"This event should never have occurred at Mount Sinai," hospital spokeswoman Dorie Klissas said. "We apologized to the patient, and we will do all we can to ensure that something like this never happens again."

In fact, it does not appear clear whether the hospital's error had any effect on the patient's esteem of the medical center. She said that the patient had stated to hospital officials that the surgeon had helped steward him through bladder cancer, and that he still had full faith in the surgeon.

It is not the first time that a surgeon has removed the wrong kidney. In 2008, a doctor in Minneapolis removed the wrong kidney from a cancer patient, saying that he was distracted by his beeper and other patients.

In addition, last year, an Ohio hospital suspended its entire transplant program after a nurse accidentally threw away a kidney that was scheduled to be placed in an organ recipient, the Huffington Post reports.

Such events are typically known as "never events", otherwise known as events that should never happen. Though rare, only occurring once in every 12,000 procedures, they are more common that you'd might think; one study found that these "never events" occurred 80 times a week, according to the American Medical News. Many facilities have checklists in place in order to keep them from occurring.

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