A surgeon was sentenced this Wednesday in Austria for having amputated a patient’s wrong leg, indicated to the agency AFP the regional court of Linz (north).
Accused by the Prosecutor’s Office, the magistrate declared guilty of “injury due to gross negligence” to the 43-year-old defendant, who for her part claimed for the figure of “human error”, indicated a spokeswoman for the judicial instance.
She had marked the wrong leg of an 82-year-old patient before operating on him last May in Freistadt and only realized his mistake two days later.
The error was detected during a routine dressing change and the patient was told that the other leg would have to be amputated as well.
At the time, the clinic said the incident had occurred as a “result of a sequence of unfortunate circumstances.” Its director publicly apologized at a press conference.
The court imposed a fine of 2,700 euros, half of which suspended, without specifying how it was calculated. Also agreed 5,000 euros for damages for the patient’s widow, who died in the meantime, who became a civil party.
At trial, the surgeon said there had been a failure in the chain of command in the operating room. When asked why he had marked the right leg and not the left, he said: “I just don’t know.”
The management of the medical center stated in a statement that “the causes and circumstances of this medical error were precisely analyzed.” Internal procedures were discussed with the operating block team, who received further training.
After the incident, The doctor changed clinics and can still appeal the sentence.
On the other hand, similar incidents have already occurred in the past. In 1995, an American doctor discovered mid-operation that he was amputating the wrong leg of a diabetic patient. And he was forced to continue after cutting muscles, tendons and ligaments.
(With information from AFP)
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