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Florida surgeon mistakes patient's kidney for tumor, has it removed


November 08, 2018

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A surgeon in Florida is facing legal trouble after he unnecessarily removed a woman’s fully-functioning kidney during back surgery, mistaking it for a tumor.

According to the Palm Beach Post, Maureen Pacheco had gone in to get the bones in her lower back fused together after dealing with years of back pain.

She didn’t have any say in the supposed-tumor-turned-out-kidney removal. In fact, Pacheco didn’t even know about it until she woke up from surgery.

“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 kidneys has been unnecessarily removed,” Pacheco’s attorney, Donald J. Ward, told the paper.

USA TODAY reported that Dr. Ramon Vazquez, the doctor who removed Pacheco’s kidney, wasn’t even the surgeon who had been assigned to perform the surgery. Vazquez had only been brought in to make an incision for the doctors who would be working on Pacheco.

Upon making the incision, Vazquez spotted the organ, perceived it to be a tumor, declared an emergency and removed it.

According to the New York Post, Pacheco filed a lawsuit against Vazquez that was settled in September.

Florida’s Department of Health has also filed a complaint against Vazquez who, previous to this incident, had a clean disciplinary record.

Depending on how the case goes, Vazquez could be disciplined in a variety of ways, from having to pay a fine to having his medical license revoked.

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