Yale New Haven Hospital is facing trouble after being sued by a patient for removing the wrong rib from her body in an alleged medical mix-up. Last May, Deborah Craven, 60, from Milford, Ct. was scheduled to have her eighth rib removed due to a lesion. After the operation, Craven reportedly still experienced pain in the area.
An x-ray exam revealed that doctors removed the wrong rib and the metal coils used in the operation had been left inside of her. Dr. Anthony Kim, who did not partake in the surgery, informed Craven and her husband they’d removed a “portion” of the seventh rib instead of the eighth by mistake and booked her for a follow-up surgery the next day.
What happened next was thoroughly distressing. Before the second surgery, hospital resident Dr. Ricardo Quarrie, the doctor who performed the first operation, told Craven that her surgery was not due to the wrong rib being removed, but that not enough of the rib had been removed. Craven believes that Quarrie lied “to cover up the removal of the wrong body part.” The lawsuit adds that despite repeated requests by Craven and her husband that Quarrie not continue to participate in her care, he was present at her second surgery.
According to documents filed in the suit, after Craven was discharged from the hospital, she approached Yale New Haven Hospital to “resolve the matter informally.” However, a representative for the hospital reportedly told her that ‘the case was not significant enough’ for their involvement.” Yale has acknowledged that an error had been made in Craven’s case and announced their plans to “immediately report it to the Connecticut Department of Public Health.”
Craven’s lawsuit could be costly for Yale New Haven Hospital on both a financial and public relations front. The mistake is clear and Yale has publicly admitted to it. In a statement, Yale has said it has apologized to Craven for the error. However hospital spokeswoman Karen Peart declined to discuss when and how that apology was made and what exactly was said.
Unfortunately, mistakes happen frequently in the world of surgery. According to Diederich Healthcare, medical malpractice payouts totaled $3.9 billion in the United States in 2014. It is estimated that nearly one hundred thousand people will die in the U.S. this year because of preventable medical mistakes.