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

Tommaso Vincenzo Gambino August 16, 2013 at 03:18 PM
That's nuts!!!! lol
Bob H August 16, 2013 at 03:32 PM
Scotty August 16, 2013 at 04:50 PM
How about performing the mistake on the surgeon who makes the mistake ? Years ago if a prisoner escaped from Devil's Island penal colony ...the officer responsible or negligent had to serve the remaining sentence ! Bet surgeons would stop and say before starting..." now which one do we operate on ? '"
tl August 16, 2013 at 11:13 PM
How about revoking the surgeon's operatng priviledges at this hospital for six months. If the hospital passes the fine onto the surgeon, it might just be a couple of days pay for him, but cutting off his priviledges until he takes 6 months remedial training will hit him most where it hurts the most, his long term salary prospects.
Barry A Clarke` August 17, 2013 at 12:56 AM
"The man suffered increased pain because of the two incisions." OMG, give me a break! This was his attorney talking and he just wants some of that free money the hospitals are handing out for incidents like this. No wonder our hospital bills are climbing five times the rate of inflation because of sue happy people and attorneys that accommodate them. Yes, an error was made, but is it really worth more than a few thousand dollars even if you include pain and suffering. I had this surgery and played tennis 48 hours later................
PAT KENMIR August 17, 2013 at 02:46 AM
If a Surgeon can't tell left from right it is probably time for that Surgeon to take a very long time out. Perhaps six months or even a year or pay a small penalty, say $ 75,000. He would soon know left from right the next time, believe me.
Ken Jones August 17, 2013 at 09:50 AM
Barry A Clarke, an error , what a joke , its gross malpractice, he almost removed the wrong testicle since the other needed to be removed this poor man could have been left unable to have children and needing to take hormones the rest of his life . This is no better that a Dr who removes the wrong kidney or the wrong limb. a 5 second glance at the patients chart was all that would have been needed to prevent this, most likely this guy was in a hurry to get to his golf tee time! These Dr's bill tens of thosands of dollars for their services. A 750,00 fine and publish his name so that we may all avoid this quack would be my opinion!
Doug August 17, 2013 at 02:10 PM
And so we need to lower medical malpractice limits?
Charles Schwartz August 17, 2013 at 08:37 PM
"The man suffered increased pain because of the two incisions." OMG, give me a break! This was his attorney talking and he just wants some of that free money the hospitals are handing out for incidents like this. " You're joing right? Have you NEVER been kicked in the groin?
Sal August 18, 2013 at 03:58 AM
We need Tort Reform so bad doctors are rewarded for their medical malpractice mistakes with lower insurance premiums.
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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