Patient Undergoes Unnecessary Surgery Due to Identification Error; $6M Awarded
May 27, 2016 | Strategic Insights for Ambulatory Care
A jury awarded a Swarthmore, Pennsylvania, patient almost $6 million in damages resolving a malpractice lawsuit alleging that the patient underwent unnecessary surgery because she was misidentified as another patient, states an April 29, 2016 article in the Delaware County Daily Times. The patient went to an emergency department (ED) for treatment of abdominal pain. A physician found tenderness in the right lower quadrant of her abdomen and ordered a computed tomography (CT) scan. A radiologist examined the film and contacted the ED to say that it showed fluid leaking into the patient's abdomen, potentially from a perforated appendix or bowel. After a surgeon reviewed the study, he told the patient that she needed immediate surgery to save her life. During the procedure, the surgeon did not find any abnormalities or areas of perforation; nevertheless, the surgeon removed the appendix.