Doctor amputates wrong leg of the patient due to “human error”

When asked why she had marked the wrong leg for amputation, she responded by saying, “I just don’t know.”

An Austrian surgeon was fined €2,700 after amputating the wrong leg of an elderly patient earlier this year. The surgeon stated her actions were due to “human error.”

The left leg of an 82-year-old patient was supposed to be amputated but instead, his right leg was removed by the doctor. The grieve mistake was only discovered two days later, during a bandage change.

The court in Linz found the 43-year-old doctor guilty of gross negligence and fined her €2,700. The widow of the patient was awarded €5,000 in damages.

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The patient had visited the clinic in the central town of Freistadt in May to have his leg amputated. The doctor marked the healthy right leg of the patient instead of his left leg. During a routine bandage change, the mistake was discovered and the patient was informed that he would have to have his other leg amputated as well leaving him as a double amputee. 

“We are deeply shocked that on Tuesday, May 18, despite quality assurance standards, the wrong leg of an 82-year old man … was amputated,” the hospital said. The clinic stated the incident took place as a “result of a sequence of unfortunate circumstances.”

The surgeon in the court said that there was a flaw in the chain of command that day in the operating theatre. The hospital’s director made a public apology at a news conference following the gross mistake. 

When asked why she had marked the right leg for amputation instead of the left one, she responded by saying, “I just don’t know.” After the incident, the doctor moved to another hospital. Half of her fine has been suspended and she was told she can appeal the ruling.

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