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Doctor disciplined for removing wrong kidney
Old 01-18-2010, 04:01 PM   #1
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Doctor disciplined for removing wrong kidney

MINNEAPOLIS – A urologist has been indefinitely barred from inpatient surgery for removing the wrong kidney of one patient and taking a biopsy from another's patient's pancreas instead of a kidney. Dr. Erol Uke has signed the disciplinary ruling from the Minnesota Board of Medical Practice, agreeing that his actions justify the board's discipline.
The ruling said Uke could regain surgical privileges if the board later determines he's competent to do so.
The Star Tribune reported the ruling did not say where the errors happened, just that Uke removed the wrong kidney in March 2008 and performed the erroneous biopsy about four months later.
Uke declined comment when reached at home by The Associated Press.
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Old 01-18-2010, 06:22 PM   #2
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And some people laughed when they learned we were making the patients sign their legs, arms, abdomen, etc. with marker before surgery to reduce the risk of wrong-site surgery. It is surprising how often that used to occur and rarely still does. Hard to imagine.
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Old 01-18-2010, 06:26 PM   #3
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It's also surprising how infrequently doctors are disciplined...
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Old 01-18-2010, 06:28 PM   #4
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Amazing that something like this could happen these days with all the checks and double-checks in place. For any kind of surgery you get asked about a half a dozen times by various support staff, nurses, anesthetists, the surgeon, etc. what you are having done, very specifically, and yes, the final thing is the surgeon consults with you and marks on your body exactly what is being done after consultation with you.
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Old 01-18-2010, 06:33 PM   #5
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It's also surprising how infrequently doctors are disciplined...
Every month I get a virtual newsletter from the state listing dozens of disciplinary actions ranging from minor to major. Same in all 4 states in which I have practiced over my career.
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Old 01-18-2010, 06:40 PM   #6
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And some people laughed when they learned we were making the patients sign their legs, arms, abdomen, etc. with marker before surgery to reduce the risk of wrong-site surgery. It is surprising how often that used to occur and rarely still does. Hard to imagine.
When carpenters work on a house, they make all kinds of marks everywhere to guide their cutting and nailing. Given how much more critical it is for surgeons to be accurate, I don't see anything odd about surgeons making guiding marks on their patients.

Not being a surgeon, I can only imagine how fatiguing it must be to do such challenging, complicated work, with all the different body types out there, especially while standing on one's feet all day.

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Old 01-18-2010, 07:33 PM   #7
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And some people laughed when they learned we were making the patients sign their legs, arms, abdomen, etc. with marker before surgery to reduce the risk of wrong-site surgery. It is surprising how often that used to occur and rarely still does. Hard to imagine.
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Old 01-18-2010, 08:30 PM   #8
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Here's an article you might like to read:

Wrong-Site Surgery: A Preventable Medical Error -- Patient Safety and Quality -- NCBI Bookshelf

It shows that the reports are actually increasing since it became mandatory to report it. Estimates are variable but one study suggests that operating on the wrong part of the body may occur once in ~28,000 cases. Even so, once is too much. There are really no excuses for not checking and double checking.

There's even one hospital where this seems to happen a lot (and which Forum members should probably avoid)...

Hospital fined $150,000 in wrong-site surgery - Health care- msnbc.com
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Old 01-18-2010, 10:28 PM   #9
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And some people laughed when they learned we were making the patients sign their legs, arms, abdomen, etc. with marker before surgery to reduce the risk of wrong-site surgery. It is surprising how often that used to occur and rarely still does. Hard to imagine.
"Now, Doc, tell me again which one I'm autographing-- the one I want to keep, or the one that I'm giving away?"
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Old 01-19-2010, 09:05 AM   #10
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MINNEAPOLIS – A urologist has been indefinitely barred from inpatient surgery for removing the wrong kidney of one patient and taking a biopsy from another's patient's pancreas instead of a kidney. Dr. Erol Uke has signed the disciplinary ruling from the Minnesota Board of Medical Practice, agreeing that his actions justify the board's discipline.
The ruling said Uke could regain surgical privileges if the board later determines he's competent to do so.
The Star Tribune reported the ruling did not say where the errors happened, just that Uke removed the wrong kidney in March 2008 and performed the erroneous biopsy about four months later.
Uke declined comment when reached at home by The Associated Press.
The operation with the wrong kidney happened at methodist hospital in st. louis park, a suburb of mpls. The hospital admitted the error right away and took steps to prevent it from happening again.
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Old 01-19-2010, 09:25 AM   #11
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I had the cartilage in my shoulder repaired in 2004. After I had my IV, changed, had something to take the edge off, and shaved my shoulder the doc drew the “cut line”, a few words describing what they were doing, and he singed it. The anesthesiologist also quizzed me about what they were doing and singed my shoulder. When I got into the OR the RN wanted to know what I was getting operated on and how I messed it up. Right after that stuff got blurry, I had a mask on my face, the room kept spinning, and they kept telling me to do stuff but don’t remember what it was (I think I was a bit drugged).

I woke up sick to my stomach in a different room and the nurses weren’t as cute any more. After about 2 hours they had as much as they could of me and kicked me out the door.
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Old 01-19-2010, 09:47 AM   #12
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I'm not at all surprised that this happens, with all the millions of surgeries that occur. I'm the kind of person that would "My right knee has been bothering me. No wait, it's the left knee."
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Old 01-19-2010, 12:50 PM   #13
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This is another one of those horrible, but recurring issues that could be addressed by the humble checklist. There would be a checklist item to mark and sign the surgical site in advance, just as wasgotfire's surgeon and anesthesiologist did.

It's nice to see that Methodist Hospital in St. Louis Park took corrective action. Now if only a few thousand other hospitals would...

The problem with checklists as a voluntary mechanism is that there will always be someone who insists that they are far too well trained and highly skilled to bother with such trivia. I suspect that there would need to be the medical equivalent of an Admiral Rickover to force compliance.
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Old 01-19-2010, 01:01 PM   #14
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OMG! The same exact thing happened to my Uncle with his kidney in Chicago! The family wanted him to sue, but he wouldn't do it as the physician was his "friend." I'm estimating the year was about 2001, so that was pretty recent.
Because of his experience, if I were to have something "done," I'd insist they mark me up with Magic Markers to make doubly-sure they took out/off the right thing.
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Old 01-20-2010, 01:01 PM   #15
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This is another one of those horrible, but recurring issues that could be addressed by the humble checklist. There would be a checklist item to mark and sign the surgical site in advance, just as wasgotfire's surgeon and anesthesiologist did.

It's nice to see that Methodist Hospital in St. Louis Park took corrective action. Now if only a few thousand other hospitals would...

The problem with checklists as a voluntary mechanism is that there will always be someone who insists that they are far too well trained and highly skilled to bother with such trivia. I suspect that there would need to be the medical equivalent of an Admiral Rickover to force compliance.
It is highly likely there was a "checklist" system in place that was actively violated by the Surgeon. That is why he is being disciplined.

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Old 01-20-2010, 02:33 PM   #16
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I have to have surgery on my knee in the near future. I'd mark my knee up but with my luck I'd either mark the wrong knee (I'm directionally impaired ) or the marker would be toxic.
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Old 01-20-2010, 02:39 PM   #17
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I've had surgery 5 times and they always marked the site clearly and asked multiple times, but these were all external sites (shoulders (2), knee, back, toe). I imagine it is harder for internal organs so you really do have to trust that the surgeon can remember what he is doing.
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Old 01-20-2010, 02:44 PM   #18
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I have to have surgery on my knee in the near future. I'd mark my knee up but with my luck I'd either mark the wrong knee (I'm directionally impaired ) or the marker would be toxic.
If you think about it, your humorous version shows that it's not as easy as just "using a checklist." For example, in the absence of a careful policy, a surgeon might but an X on the leg to be amputated. But the nurse or anesthesiologist who drapes the patient might interpret that X as "do NOT operate here" (maybe assuming that a check mark would be used if it were the correct leg).

Then they cover everything except the leg in the area of the incision. Surgeon comes in and asks "Did someone confirm the skin markers" to which the nurse answers "yes." Bye bye good leg.

I know, it's a stretch but people of good intention commit such errors unless the system makes it almost impossible to do so. Another issue: when you have used a given checklist 1000 times, it is hard to avoid not paying close attention to it.

Aviation and nuclear power have among the best error prevention, detection and correction systems in the country. Medicine is making rapid gains but has a long way to go.
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Old 01-20-2010, 06:11 PM   #19
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One of the problems is the incredible workload on the operating team . I spent almost thirty tears in Operating Rooms assisting in major ( hip ,knee replacements , lung removals , craniotomy ,etc .). You are expected to clean up from the last operation and be ready for the next operation in twenty minutes . That involves non stop work . Huge equipment needs to be moved and tested . Supplies Have be prepared , Instruments need to be counted and Patients have to be checked in and ready to go . All the while surgeons are breathing down your neck to go faster and the hospital wants you to go faster with less help so is it any wonder these things happen. If one of these TV shows honestly showed what went on in an OR and how many staff they use to do this work America would be shocked . I know this is no excuse for the mistake that happened but to me with all the cut backs in hospitals I'm amazed that more mistakes do not happen .
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Old 01-20-2010, 08:38 PM   #20
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One of the problems is the incredible workload on the operating team . I spent almost thirty tears in Operating Rooms assisting in major ( hip ,knee replacements , lung removals , craniotomy ,etc .). You are expected to clean up from the last operation and be ready for the next operation in twenty minutes . That involves non stop work . Huge equipment needs to be moved and tested . Supplies Have be prepared , Instruments need to be counted and Patients have to be checked in and ready to go . All the while surgeons are breathing down your neck to go faster and the hospital wants you to go faster with less help so is it any wonder these things happen. If one of these TV shows honestly showed what went on in an OR and how many staff they use to do this work America would be shocked . I know this is no excuse for the mistake that happened but to me with all the cut backs in hospitals I'm amazed that more mistakes do not happen .
Well that settles it for me. I refuse to go to any OR and have any surgery done from now on.
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