Surgeon removes woman’s kidney during back surgery, mistaking it for a tumor

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A surgeon in Florida mistook a woman’s healthy kidney for a cancerous tumor and removed it during a back surgery.

Maureen Pacheco, 51, checked into the Wellington Regional Medical Center in April of 2016 for an operation to fuse the bones in her lower back after a car accident, according to the Palm Beach Post.

During the operation, her surgeon, Dr. Ramon Vasquez, spotted the organ, which he believed to be a tumor, declared an emergency and removed it.

According to a lawsuit filed by Pacheco, Vasquez wasn’t supposed to be performing the back surgery, either. His job was only to cut her open so other surgeons could operate.

“As you can imagine, when someone goes in for a back surgery, she would never expect to wake up and be told when she’s just waking up from anesthesia, that one of her kidneys has been unnecessarily removed,” said Pacheco’s attorney, Donald J. Ward.

Vasquez, who has served as chairman of surgery at Palm Beach Medical Center since January, could be required to pay a fine or lose his medical license.

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