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Surgeon Fined $3,000 for Mistakenly Amputating the Wrong Leg on a Patient

·2-min read
Freistadt Clinic
Freistadt Clinic

Klinikum Freistadt Freistadt Clinic

An Austrian surgeon was fined 2,700 euros, about $3,050, after she mistakenly amputated the wrong leg on a patient.

The court said that the 43-year-old surgeon committed "grossly negligent bodily harm" when she accidentally removed her patient's right leg instead of the left on May 18, CNN reported.

The surgeon, from a clinic in Freistadt, Austria, had done an "inadequate" job of checking the patient's medical records to determine which leg was supposed to be amputated, and had incorrectly marked the right leg before removing it above the knee, Walter Eichinger, the court's vice president, told CNN.

The man had been suffering from "numerous medical conditions," the hospital had said in May, and a past sickness led him to need his left leg amputated.

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The hospital did not realize until two days after the amputation that it had been on the wrong leg.

"It was [Thursday] morning, in the course of the standard wound dressing change, that the tragic mistake, caused by human error, was discovered," the hospital said at the time.

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The patient later had the correct leg amputated as well. He has since died from causes unrelated to the amputation, Eichinger said.

The court also awarded the patient's widow $5,666 in damages.

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The surgeon and the widow can appeal the court's decision up until Dec. 6 at noon. After the incident in May, the surgeon elected to take time off at her request. She has since moved to a different clinic, BBC News reported.

The hospital said in May that the mix-up was the result of "human error" and a "disastrous combination of circumstances."

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