Mistaken removal of kidneys results in woman’s death

| Feb 13, 2019 | Medical Malpractice |

Patients in Virginia put their trust in doctors and surgeons to know what they are doing and perform their duties conscientiously, competently and mindfully. However, physicians make mistakes, and it is typically the patient who ends up paying the price.

A 73-year-old woman from Colorado recently died nine months after undergoing an operation to remove her kidneys. The cruel irony is that testing after the procedure allegedly revealed that her kidneys were entirely healthy, meaning that the already-completed nephrectomy was unnecessary. Doctors reportedly informed the woman that pathology reports demonstrated cancer of both kidneys. It was only after the surgery, however, that she allegedly discovered that the data contained in the reports were “consistent with a benign process” and that there was “no evidence of malignancy.” 

A biopsy following the procedure reportedly demonstrated no evidence of mass lesion or carcinoma, which was the first indication that her doctors may have made a mistake. The aftermath of the procedure caused the woman to make drastic lifestyle changes as she required four-hour dialysis treatments three times a week in order to keep her alive. 

At the time of her death, the woman was reportedly in the process of taking the final steps to have her name added to the national waitlist for kidney transplants. Another possible option was receiving a donated kidney from one of her daughters. Unfortunately, she suffered a heart attack on Jan. 29th, 2019 and died a few days thereafter. Another of the woman’s daughters claims that it was an excess of potassium in her blood that caused the heart attack, which would not have occurred had the woman’s kidneys still been in place to regulate the levels.

The hospital where the woman had the procedure that removed her kidneys declined to comment on the matter beyond offering condolences to the woman’s family upon her death, citing laws protecting patients’ privacy. However, a statement from the hospital did imply that news reports regarding the case have not been completely accurate. 

Though nothing can bring back a loved one who dies as a result of medical malpractice, the law is in place to hold doctors who make such serious mistakes to account. When a physician’s error causes harm to patients and their families, it may be a good idea for them to consult an attorney.