Money Matters - Simplified

Surgeon fined $5K for removing wrong organ

Coral Springs, Fla. -- A Florida surgeon who mistakenly removed a patient's kidney instead of his gallbladder has been fined $5,000, officials said.

In October 2007 Bernard Zaragoza of Coral Springs removed a kidney from an 83-year-old patient whose "unusual anatomy" placed the kidney where the gallbladder should have been, Health News Florida reported Monday.

"I was completely mortified," Zaragoza said upon discovering the error. "It's a complication I never heard of, dreamed of, or imagined could happen.''

The Florida Board of Medicine took the unusual circumstances into consideration when approving the relatively mild $5,000 fine, plus 50 hours of community service. The panel chalked the situation up to "bad luck," with one board member saying he would be happy to have the surgeon operate on his own family members.

The patient died of heart failure three weeks after the operation.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI).

No votes yet