One patient went to standard back surgery. She awoke a kidney shortly.

One patient went to standard back surgery. She awoke a kidney shortly.

Maureen Pacheco, who joined the Wellington Regional Medical Center at the age of 51 in April 2016 to fuse the lower back bones for having suffered a car accident years ago.

She left a short kidney from the hospital.

According to a complaint lodged by the Florida Department of Health in December against Drs. Vazquez unnecessarily removed her pelvic kidney from her left side, Ramon Vazquez, a doctor in West Palm Beach.

According to the complaint, Vazquez noted "pelvic mass and provided a preliminary diagnosis of malignant gynecology, lymphoma, and / or other metastatic disease."

He went on to completely remove the "mass" without performing a preliminary biopsy to determine the malignancy. But the mass was no mass – it was Pacheco's kidney.

And Vazquez was not even her surgeon.

Rather, he had been there "to cut them open so their orthopedic surgeons could perform the delicate back surgery," the Palm Beach Post reported. She had only recently met him when she was rolled into the operating room.

Pacheco's lawsuit was settled in September for a "nominal amount," Vazquez & # 39; s attorney Michael Mittelmark told the Washington Post. Mittelmark added that Vazquez "has not accepted any liability and does not believe that he did anything wrong.

The confusion arose because Pacheco had a rare disease known as the pelvic kidney. It occurs during the development of the fetus when it does not rise to its normal position.

Her kidney was therefore not in the usual upper abdominal area, but "worked full," although she was in the pelvic area, reported the Washington Post. If there are no related symptoms such as constipation or reflux, no treatment is required so that many patients simply live with the anomaly, according to the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital in Chicago.

Two MRI before the operation of Pacheco showed she had a pelvic kidney, according to her complaint, the Palm Beach Post reported.

Vazquez is a general surgeon in West Palm Beach. According to the state drug agency, he has an active license, in which no discipline is documented. As a result of this incident, the Health Department has now requested that the medical authority consider suspending or revoking Vazquez's medical license, probation or administrative sanction or other "corrective action".

A spokesman for the Wellington Regional Medical Center commented on the Inside Edition: "Dr. Vazquez is and has never been an employee of the Wellington Regional Medical Center." Dr. Vazquez was an independent physician with privileges for Wellington Regional and other hospital medical staff District of Palm Beach. "

Vazquez, the statement goes on, was "no longer in Wellington Regional's medical staff." And the hospital, located at 10101 Forest Hill Blvd. "has taken all necessary and appropriate steps to investigate the circumstances of this unfortunate incident, and in the history of the Wellington Regional Medical Center over 30 years ago, an incident of this nature has never occurred before or since."

Vazquez received his medical degree from New York's Albert Einstein College of Medicine at Yeshiva University, according to US News and World Report. According to the Board of Medicine in Florida, Vazquez has "an active license without a disciplinary register," the Washington Post reported.

An AHRQ-supported 2006 study of operations in the wrong place examined nearly 3 million operations between 1985 and 2004, finding a rate of 1 in 112,994 cases of out-of-place surgery. The authors of the study "suggested that the average large hospital may be involved in such an event every five to ten years, a rate ten times less common than the number of retained foreign bodies."

"Few medical errors are as vivid and scary as those affecting patients who have operated on the wrong part of the body," says the Agency for Health Research and Quality on its website.

Follow @HowardCohen on Twitter.

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