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Methodist Hospital in Minnesota acknowledged that their medical staff accidentally removed the wrong organ from a patient. Dr. Samuel Carlson, chief medical officer for Park Nicollet Health Services, stated that one of the surgeons removed a patient’s healthy kidney and left the cancerous one in place.

The surgery was performed last Tuesday, but it wasn’t until the next day that a pathologist noticed the kidney taken from the patient was healthy. The doctor who removed the kidney – a veteran surgeon – has voluntary stopped seeing patients. Carlson says the mistake may have originated at a Park Nicollet clinic.

Wrong-site surgeries do happen, last year there were 24 in Minnesota, but removal of the wrong organ rarely happens. In the past four-and-a-half years that Minnesota has been collecting data there has not been any wrong organ removals.

Most hospitals have safety measures prevent wrong-site surgery, such as marking body parts that are being operated on before surgery and requiring a break in the operating room so surgical staff can double check documentation. Apparently standard protocols were followed at Methodist Hospital to avoid wrong-site surgery, but that was not enough. The hospital has now added another safety procedure requiring that surgeons double check MRI and CT scans before beginning surgery.

Neither the identity of the surgeon or the patient have been disclosed. It is known that the patient is still under the care of the Methodist Hospital.

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