A Florida woman suffered from back pain for years after a car accident. In April 2016, she checked into a regional medical center to get her lower back bones fused to relieve her pain. However, a surgical error led to her leaving the Florida hospital with only one kidney.
Doctor removed what he thought was a tumor
The doctor was a general practice surgeon brought in to expose the surgical site for the orthopedic surgeons in the woman’s surgery. After opening the woman up, he noticed what he thought was a malignant tumor in her pelvis. The doctor clipped the mass and removed it from her body.
The mass was her healthy kidney
A month later, the hospital confirmed the mass was actually a pelvic kidney. A pelvic kidney is a perfectly healthy kidney that did not ascend into the abdominal cavity where kidneys typically are located.
Woman was not given a chance to provide consent
Before her surgery, she had two MRIs done which clearly showed the kidney located in her pelvis. Her lawsuit alleged that the doctor did not look at these MRIs, nor was the woman given a chance to consent to the removal of the mass. The medical malpractice case against him was settled, though the doctor would admit no wrongdoing. The woman also settled medical malpractice claims against her primary surgeons.
People with only one kidney can lead healthy, normal lives. However, the woman will be more susceptible to high blood pressure, chronic kidney disease and renal failure.
The doctor is also facing additional consequences from the state. Florida’s Department of Health has filed an administrative complaint against the doctor. This complaint could result in the doctor having to pay fines, or he could lose his license.
Medical malpractice breaches the standard of care
To prove medical malpractice occurred, a patient must show that a health professional breached the standard of care. The standard of care is the generally accepted treatment that medical professionals would provide in a given situation. A medical malpractice suit must also prove that this failure to resulted in an injury to the patient.