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Surgeon Slices Wrong Testicle in Slipup; Sharp Fined $75K

A Sharp Memorial Hospital surgeon cut the wrong testicle during an operation to remove a lesion, health officials said.

Sharp Memorial Hospital. Photo by Sharp.
Sharp Memorial Hospital. Photo by Sharp.

A surgeon cutting a man's wrong testicle resulted in the state Department of Public Health issuing a $75,000 fine to Sharp Healthcare on Thursday.

The operation for the 33-year-old man at Sharp Memorial Hospital was for removal of his left testicle, where a lesion was discovered.

The surgeon, however, made his initial cut on the right testicle, according to the department.

A document released by the agency showed that others in the surgical unit pointed out the error, and the incision was closed, and the rest of the procedure continued normally.

The man suffered increased pain because of the two incisions, the agency reported.

The surgical staff failed to take a "time out" to focus their attention to make sure they were about to perform the correct procedure at the proper site on the right patient, the department concluded.

"We are extremely sorry that our patient unnecessarily incurred a surgical incision," said a statement from Sharp Healthcare. "Our investigation of the December 2011 incident revealed that although the surgical team immediately recognized the error and stopped the procedure, key steps should have been taken to prevent this event in accordance with Sharp policy."

According to the statement, Sharp launched a comprehensive performance improvement initiative that added additional safeguards to assure that surgical team members properly identify a patient's surgical site during the pre-operative phase and also before surgery begins in the operating suite. The state Department of Public Health reviewed and approved the plan, the statement said.

Sharp Memorial was one of 10 statewide fined by the department—the only one in San Diego County.

-City News Service

Roger August 18, 2013 at 12:07 PM
The larger questions should be: 1. How many of the staff in the operating suite SPOKE ENGLISH? 2.DId the hospital staff admit error or did they have to pursue legal action . 3. Did the hospital use the "lowest bidder" of the surgeon's they provide.
Peter L August 18, 2013 at 10:24 PM
I handled med mal claims we once had a doctor remove the wrong leg and than had to take off the bad one....we one the case Plaintiff didn't have a leg to stand on badda bing
william savick August 18, 2013 at 10:40 PM
Two tests that don't tickle .
Phil Collins August 19, 2013 at 08:40 AM
Ball playing in the O.R. has been a problem for many years now sometimes they drop the wrong ball and sometimes they don't.
Kyle August 19, 2013 at 09:30 AM
Sharp Memorial Hospital was suppressed the man came forward with the law suit, a spokesman was quoted as saying," we didn't think he had the balls, for it."

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