Organ removal mix up leads to patient death
As a clinical negligence solicitor, I am used to working on serious cases of patient injury, some of which are the result of indefensible medical errors. However, it was still shocking to hear about the case of Amy Francis, the woman who died after an experienced surgeon accidentally tried to remove her liver, rather than one of her kidneys (BBC).
Mrs Francis died from internal bleeding after her liver was ruptured during the attempted removal.
The surgeon involved asked a trainee, who had never performed the procedure before, to remove the kidney. After the trainee lost confidence, the experienced surgeon was forced to take over. The inquest into Mrs Francis' death was also told that when it came to removing the kidney, the peritoneal sac was covered by more fluid and matter than usual.
While this was an honest mistake, which the surgeon held his hands up to, the medical profession must examine closely the sequence of events leading up to the blunder and ensure that lessons are learned from it.
As a result of the incident, the operating procedure at the hospital in question has been modified and communicated worldwide. This is an important exercise and the publicity surrounding this incident should serve as a warning of the tragic consequences that can occur if the procedure is not followed.