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Doctor removes patient's kidney during routine back surgery

Pedro Marrero
Nov 08, 2018
05:47 A.M.

The field of Medicine, especially as regards surgery, should be as precise and rigorous as possible; however, extraordinary cases may occur.

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Precisely this was what happened to Maureen Pacheco, a patient who was waiting for a surgical intervention in her spine and ended up leaving the operating room with one less kidney.

Specifically, in April 2016, Pacheco entered the operating room in order to correct an injury to his spine; however, upon recovering from the anesthesia, she learned that one of her kidneys was missing. As is to be expected, the problem had to be solved by legal means.

In 2015, Maureen Pacheco suffered a car accident that caused her spinal cord injury; thus, in April 2016, she underwent surgery to fix a pair of vertebrae at the lumbar level, in order to relieve pain. Follow us on Twitter for more @amomama_usa.

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What she didn’t expect was that she would leave the operating room with one less organ. The surgery was carried out at the Wellington Regional Medical Center, in Florida, by surgeon Ramón Vázquez. It was supposed to be a routine procedure, without major associated risks.

However, when Pacheco recovered from anesthesia, she learned that Vazquez had removed one of his kidneys.

Source: Freepik

Source: Freepik

In this regard, the surgeon alleges that during the intervention he identified a strange mass located in the pelvis of the patient; then he suspected that it was a cancerous tumor and extracted it. The truth is that it was not a cancerous tumor, but one of Pacheco's kidneys.

The kidney, which was on the left side of the patient's pelvis, was a pelvic kidney; this means that it is a kidney that did not rise to its normal position in the upper abdominal area during fetal development but remained in the pelvis; but it was a fully functional organ.

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Source: Freepik

Source: Freepik

Although the ideal is to have two functional kidneys, in general, people can live a completely normal life with only one; however, there may be certain problems in the future, such as increased chances of suffering from hypertension.

Considering all this, it is not surprising that the patient opened a lawsuit. Pacheco sued the surgeon, alleging that he and his assistants had been negligent in extracting unnecessarily a kidney in full operation.

Logically, when a person undergoes a back surgery, the least expected when recovering, is to learn that a kidney is missing.

Source: Freepik

Source: Freepik

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While the surgeon issued laudable allegations, claiming that he removed what he had considered to be a cancerous tumor, it is important to bear in mind that, before the surgery, Pacheco had undergone a pair of MRIs, from which she had discovered that one of her kidneys was in the pelvic region.

Additionally, in the framework of the preparations for the surgery, Vázquez had explained that he would only be responsible for the operation beginning, while two other surgeons would be responsible for the rest of the procedure.

Source: Freepik

Source: Freepik

This caused the patient, according to the lawsuit, bodily injuries, pain, suffering, disability, and disfigurement, as well as high levels of anguish. Finally, the claim was resolved after an economic agreement. However, the surgeon did not admit his responsibility.

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Another similar case occurred in Delaware, where a woman sued the three surgeons who took part in the surgery in which they were supposed to remove a potentially cancerous half of the thyroid of the then-80-year-old Mary Schrock.

Source: Pixabay

Source: Pixabay

The surgery had been prompted by concerns the right lobe was potentially cancerous, according to medical records. However, when doctors proceeded with the surgeon they removed the left lobe of the woman’s thyroid, leaving her with the lingering threat of cancer.

We know that doctors are not God and like humans, they can make mistakes. However, medical malpractice usually leads to devastating results, like this premature baby who died moments after doctor cut an inch-long gash into her head by mistake during an emergency cesarean.

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The mother arrived at the hospital with abdominal pain and she was told she had a low-lying placenta that caused excessive bleeding and pain. What this mom didn’t expect was that the obstetrician would make a horrible error that caused her child’s death.

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