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Surgeon faces penalties for mistaking kidney for tumor

New Jersey patients expect to be consulted before a medical procedure is performed on them. However, a Florida woman didn't receive that standard of care when she underwent back surgery in 2016. During the procedure, the surgeon mistook one of her kidneys for a cancerous tumor and removed it without her consent. The doctor has already settled a lawsuit filed by the patient and now faces potential penalties from the Florida Department of Health.

According to a report by the Palm Beach Post, the patient was suffering back pain as the result of a car accident several years ago. On April 29, 2016, she was admitted to Wellington Regional Medical Center to get bones in her lower back fused together. Two back specialists performed the spinal surgery, but a general surgeon performed the initial incision, which was on the front of her body. While performing this incision, the general surgeon thought he spotted a malignant mass and removed it. However, testing revealed it was a pelvic kidney.

Each back surgeon agreed to pay the patient a settlement of $250,000. The general surgeon settled for an undisclosed amount, but he blamed the hospital for failing to inform him the patient had a pelvic kidney. The state Department of Health filed a complaint against him, and he could face a range of penalties, including a fine or the loss of his medical license.

Surgical errors are a type of medical malpractice. Victims of medical malpractice have the right to file a lawsuit seeking compensation for damages. An attorney might be able to assess a victim's case, help assemble evidence supporting the claim and file the necessary documents in court. As a result, the victim may be awarded a settlement that covers current and future medical expenses, pain and suffering and more.

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