M.D. re­moves kid­ney he thought was tu­mor

Boston Herald - - NEWS -

PALM BEACH, Fla. — A West Palm Beach sur­geon has agreed to pay a $3,000 fine — among other penal­ties — for ac­ci­den­tally re­mov­ing a woman’s kid­ney, think­ing it was a can­cer­ous mass, ac­cord­ing to the Flor­ida Board of Medicine. Dr. Ra­mon Vazquez, a West Palm Beach sur­geon, was tasked with open­ing up Mau­reen Pacheco on April 29, 2016, at Welling­ton Regional Med­i­cal Cen­ter. Or­tho­pe­dic sur­geons were then sched­uled to per­form a spinal fu­sion to al­le­vi­ate Pacheco’s lower back pain. But Pacheco had a con­di­tion from birth in which her kid­ney never as­cended into the ab­domen and was lo­cated in her pelvic re­gion. Vazquez saw the un­de­vel­oped but func­tion­ing or­gan as can­cer and re­moved it only to find out later from a pathol­o­gist that it was, in fact, an in­tact pelvic kid­ney. The Flor­ida Health De­part­ment filed a com­plaint in De­cem­ber 2017, say­ing the can­cer di­ag­no­sis was not re­lated to the pa­tient’s med­i­cal con­di­tion and “there­fore med­i­cally un­nec­es­sary.” The Board of Medicine ini­tially re­jected a set­tle­ment with a $1,500 fine. Un­der the fi­nal set­tle­ment, Vazquez must also give a one-hour lec­ture on wrong-site surgery to the en­tire med­i­cal staff of a hos­pi­tal where he main­tains staff priv­i­leges. Vazquez must also com­plete three hours of med­i­cal education on pre­op­er­a­tive eval­u­a­tion of sur­gi­cal pa­tients and pay $4,800 in costs. The Health De­part­ment in doc­u­ments stated that the fact that Vazquez had no prior dis­ci­pline. It also stated that two other sur­geons agree­ing the mass should be re­moved “due to po­ten­tial ma­lig­nancy” re­duced the harsh­ness of the dis­ci­pline.

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