Published On: Thu, Aug 11th, 2016

Physician allegedly removed kidney from wrong patient

A 2013 study estimated that more than 4000 surgical "Never Events" occur yearly in the United States.

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The state Department of Public Health is investigating an allegation that a surgeon removed a kidney from the wrong patient at St. Vincent Hospital.

A statement from the Massachusetts Department of Health said: “We are aware of this serious allegation, and are investigating in line with our state and federal authority, ” according to media reports.

“This is a deeply unfortunate situation involving a patient misidentification that took place outside of our hospital and did not involve our employees.” according to a statement from Tenet Health, which owns St. Vincent. “Our staff followed proper protocols in preparing for and performing the surgery, which was scheduled by the patient’s physician at our hospital.”

“Saint Vincent Hospital is committed to providing safe, high-quality care to every patient who enters our doors.  We are saddened that this incident occurred and our leadership continues to assure the affected patient receives the support and care needed.”
Surgery performed on the wrong patient is described as a Never Events, which reference to particularly shocking medical errors, by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.
The National Quality Forum (NQF), initially defined 27 such events in 2002. The list has been revised most recently in 2011, and now consists of 29 events.
A 2006 study estimated that hospital might experience a case of wrong-site surgery once every 5 to 10 years. However, when Never Events occur, they are devastating to patients and may indicate a fundamental safety problem within an organization.
A 2013 study estimated that more than 4000 surgical never events occur yearly in the United States.
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