Surgeon slapped with $3,000 fine for accidentally removing patient’s kidney

/ 03:07 PM January 16, 2019
surgeon stock photo

A surgeon from Florida, United States has to pay a fine of $3,000 dollars (around P156,000) after he mistakenly removed a patient’s kidney, thinking it was a cancerous mass.

The fine was just one among other penalties Dr. Ramon Vazquez has to comply with, including giving a one-hour lecture on wrong-site surgery to a hospital’s medical staff. He also has to complete three hours of medical education and pay $4,800 (about P250,000) in costs, as per the Palm Beach Post on Jan. 10.


Vazquez performed a spinal fusion on his patient Maureen Pacheco back in April 2016 to alleviate her back pain. According to the report, Pacheco’s kidney never ascended into her abdomen and is instead located in her pelvic region — a condition she has had since birth.

Vazquez saw the kidney and presumed it was lymphoma or some other metastatic disease, as per the final order of The Florida Board Medicine last December 2018. A biopsy of the mass was also not carried out despite the “potential malignancy,” and the supposed mass was confirmed as an intact pelvic kidney by a pathologist only after the surgery in May 2016.

The Board stated that Vazquez performed a “medically unnecessary procedure” since the removal of the pelvic kidney was not related to the patient’s medical condition.

The harshness of Vazquez’s negligence was reduced because he had “no prior discipline” and other surgeons agreed that the mass should be removed due to its “potential malignancy,” the report said. Pacheco also only mentioned her condition to the doctors after the surgery was performed.

Pacheco’s attorney, Donald Ward III, however expressed disappointment that the doctors placed blame on Pacheco’s condition, when her orthopedic surgeons were aware of it.

“She had the expectation that any physician operating on her would have familiarized himself with her medical records, both prior to surgery and as necessary during the surgery,” Ward said in the report.

He also said Pacheco can go on with just one kidney, but is now more vulnerable when it comes to renal failure and chronic kidney disease. Cody Cepeda/JB


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TAGS: Florida Board of Medicine, Kidney, medical negligence, nephrectomy, surgery, West Palm Beach
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