Lawsuit: Surgeon removes woman’s kidney he thought was tumor
WELLINGTON, Fla. (January 14, 2019) – A Florida woman has filed a lawsuit after having a perfectly healthy kidney removed because her surgeon mistook it for a cancerous tumor.
Maureen Pacheco was suffering from back pains from a car accident and was scheduled to have surgery at Wellington Regional to resolve the issue. But the 51-year-old woke up from anesthesia to discover that her kidney had been taken out by mistake. During the procedure, one of her surgeons, Dr. Ramon Vazquez, mistook her perfectly healthy kidney for a cancerous tumor and removed it from her body without her consent, court documents state.
Vazquez admitted he didn’t review her medical records before the surgery.
“If he would have looked at the MRIs that were given to him, he would’ve realized it,” Pacheco told a Florida news outlet.
A month following the surgery, a pathologist at Wellington Regional confirmed the mass removed was, in fact, an intact pelvic kidney.
Pacheco recently settled in a lawsuit against her doctors Dr. John Britt and Dr. Jeffrey Kugler for $250,000 each. However, a complaint by the Florida Department of Health is still ongoing, as Dr. Vazquez wasn’t even her doctor — his job was just to cut her open so her physicians could perform the back surgery.
Dr. Vazquez has an active medical license, according to the state’s health department website. He could face a range of penalties from losing his medical license to simply paying a fine.
Pacheco said no amount of money will fix the complications she faces for the rest of her life.