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Virginia Attorneys > Blog > Medical Malpractice > Austria Hospital Amputates Wrong Leg

Austria Hospital Amputates Wrong Leg


An Austrian hospital recently admitted that they removed the wrong leg from the patient. According to the hospital, a hospital worker mistakenly put the preoperative mark on the wrong leg. After the surgery, the correct leg was amputated leaving the 82-year-old patient with precisely zero legs. The surgeon who was involved in the operation took voluntary leave after the mistake became known. Information concerning the case was sent to Austria’s public prosecutor for review. They sure do things differently there than they do here. Nonetheless, this is malpractice.

What would happen in America? 

In America, you’d get billed for both surgeries. No seriously. That literally happened to a patient in Las Vegas. After his surgery, he woke up wondering why there were bandages on his left leg. When the surgeon admitted the error, he joked about it saying the patient got two surgeries for the price of one. However, the hospital billed his insurance for both surgeries. While getting billed for a surgery on the wrong limb is a uniquely American phenomenon, operating on the wrong limb is not. This is the sort of mistake that should never happen, and yet every year we hear about doctors removing the wrong organ or the wrong limb or operating on the wrong side of a patient’s brain.

Doctor removes wrong kidney 

In one case, a medical student watching a doctor perform a surgery told the doctor that he was taking out the wrong kidney. The doctor proceed anyway and the man was left with only one diseased kidney. He died several days later. The doctor and a urologist were accused of manslaughter, a negligence crime, and prosecutors claimed that the negligence far exceeded ordinary medical negligence.

Medical negligence is not a crime, but acting in a manner that is likely or inevitably leads to someone else’s harm is a crime.

Wrong-site amputations and surgeries 

If a doctor removes a healthy organ or performs an unnecessary operation, they are automatically guilty of medical malpractice. While the hospital is usually negligent in these situations, it is up to the doctor to ensure everything is order before the procedure begins. The doctor has ultimate authority on whether or not the procedure should proceed. If a doctor removes a healthy leg or a kidney, the doctor is responsible for the medical fallout, injuries, and decreased quality of life that ensues. There is simply no way to defend yourself from operating on the wrong body party. Usually, doctors try to cloud liability by blaming the nursing assistant, or someone else who does not carry medical malpractice insurance. Their insurers often aid them in making these claims. Then the liability would shift away from the doctor toward the hospital. So the hospital’s insurer blames the doctor.

Talk to a Charlottesville, VA Medical Malpractice Attorney 

If a doctor has made a critical error that left you more injured than you were before, you may be entitled to file a lawsuit against them, hold them accountable for the mistake, and get the funds you need to pay for future medical expenses, lost wages, and reduced quality of life. Call the Charlottesville medical malpractice attorneys at MichieHamlett today for a free consultation and we can discuss your options with you.




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