Man Sues Hospital Claiming Wrong Kidney Removed
September 4, 2009
RIVERSIDE -- A man is suing a Riverside hospital claiming the surgeon removed his healthy kidney instead of his diseased one, leaving him to endure dialysis treatments every three days.
Francisco Torres, 72, underwent surgery at Parkview Community Hospital Medical Center on July 14 and was supposed to have his left kidney removed, according to the lawsuit filed last Friday in Riverside County Superior Court. The kidney was being removed because doctors discovered what was thought to be a cancerous mass, according to Torres' attorney Shirley Watkins.
Instead of removing the diseased organ, his surgeon, Dr. H. Erik Wahlstrom, removed Torre's healthy right kidney before realizing his mistake, Watkins said.
Dr. Wahlstrom apparently apologized for the error shortly after surgery.
Torres, a retired assembly worker, says he no longer has a normal life and has to endure dialysis every three days to stay alive.
The mass on his remaining kidney was removed about a month after the alleged botched surgery.
Watkins said Torres' chart was absolutely clear that it was his left kidney that was infected. According to medical records supplied by Watkins, a hospital nurse and Dr. Wahlstrom both wrote notes in Torres' chart the day before surgery, indicating that his right kidney was to be removed.
Torres, who does not speak or read English, says he didn't know which kidney was to be removed, but that he trusted the hospital.
According to records from the Medical Board of California, Dr. Wahlstrom settled a previous malpractice lawsuit for nearly $2 million in connection with a 2005 kidney transplant he performed became infected, requiring its removal.
Torres' lawsuit accuses the hospital and Dr. Wahlstrom of malpractice, battery and failure to disclose the doctor's record with the Medical Board of California.
Hospital officials deny responsibility.
The lawsuit does not specify how much money Torres is seeking for damages.
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