Patient Says Doctor Operated on the Wrong Kidney, Caused Permanent Damage

A Tennessee woman is suing her doctor at Vanderbilt University Medical Center for allegedly operating on the wrong kidney. The woman, Carla Miller, went to the Nashville hospital in November 2017 running a fever and complaining of pain in her side. The medical professionals at the hospital decided Miller would need a stent put in her right kidney. A stent is a small mesh tube and was intended to connect Miller’s right kidney to her bladder. Unfortunately, the doctors botched the surgery and put the stent on her left kidney, which was functioning normally at the time.

Now, Miller is suing the hospital for medical malpractice. She says that the failed surgery caused permanent damage and she will now be on dialysis for the rest of her life. Further, Miller will need to undergo two more surgeries – one surgery to remove the misplaced stent and one surgery to place the stent in the correct location. According to the lawsuit filed by Miller, she is seeking $25 million in damages from the hospital. Describing the ordeal to CBS New York, Miller said, “This type of error is shocking and inexcusable in modern medicine, and it is mind-boggling that it could occur at an institution like Vanderbilt.”

Miller’s alleged medical mishap is classified as a “wrong-site surgery” by the U.S. Department of Health Services. According to the federal agency, wrong-site surgeries are “never events” and usually indicate “serious underlying safety problems” at the hospital. The Hill reports this is the third “serious medical incident” at VUMC that took place between April and December 2017. In a separate lawsuit, a patient allegedly died after an unsupervised resident, or “doctor-in-training”, mishandled a routine procedure placing a breathing tube in her throat.

Earlier in the same year, a now-former nurse gave a fatal dose of a drug typically used in executing inmates. According to the newspaper, the former nurse was criminally indicted for her alleged gross negligence which left the patient brain-dead. The nurse is currently on trial for one count of impaired adult abuse and one count of reckless homicide.

Citing patient privacy laws and advice of legal counsel, VUMC refused to comment on any of the allegations contained in the lawsuits.