A Florida doctor mistook a woman’s healthy kidney as a cancerous tumor and decided to remove it during a routine spinal surgery.
In April, 2016, Maureen Pacheco checked into Wellington Regional Medical Center to get the bones in her lower back fused after sustaining injuries in a car accident the previous year.
She went home with only one kidney.
During the surgery, a doctor spotted a mass in Pacheco’s pelvis, and believing it to be a cancerous tumor, removed it.
It turned out, however, that the mass was not a tumor but one of Pacheco’s kidneys.
A lawsuit settled in September claimed that Pacheco never had a say in the matter. Worse, the doctor was not even the one performing the back surgery.
According to the Palm Beach Post, Pacheco met the surgeon, Ramon Vazquez, shortly before she was wheeled into the operating room. Vazquez’s job was to just cut her open so that the orthopedic surgeons could perform the back operation.
“As you can imagine, when someone goes in for a back surgery, she would never expect to wake up and be told when she’s just waking up from anesthesia, that one of her kidney’s has been unnecessarily removed,” said Pacheco’s attorney, Donald Ward.
Pacheco sued the surgeon saying that Vazquez and others were medically negligent when he unnecessarily cut out her healthy and fully-functional kidney.
The lawsuit claimed that Vazquez deviated from acceptable standards of medical care and treatment when he failed to perform a radiology review or inform the patient before he removed one of her organs.
The lawsuit added that this resulted in Pacheco having to suffer from mental anguish, bodily pain and injury, disability, and disfigurement.
That kidney on Pacheco’s left side was a pelvic kidney. According to the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, the fetal pelvic kidney condition occurs when during fetal development, the kidneys failed to ascend to their normal position above the waist and remained in the pelvis.
WPBF reported that Vazquez’s attorney, Mark Mittlemark, argued that the hospital is at fault because it failed to inform the doctor that the patient had a pelvic kidney. The lawsuit was settled for a “nominal amount,” but Mittlemark said that his client did not admit liability and does not believe he did anything wrong.
The Florida Department of Health filed a complaint against Vazquez. The doctor may lose his medical license if the case goes to trial.