A surgeon at a Worcester hospital removed a kidney from the wrong patient after failing to confirm the person’s identity, public health inspectors found.
The mistake prompted federal authorities to threatened to terminate Saint Vincent Hospital from the Medicare program on Dec. 12 if the it doesn’t adopt improvements, the Boston Globe reported.
The doctor was not named in the report by the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
The surgery, which occurred on July 20, was intended to remove a kidney because of a large tumor, according to the agency’s report.
“It was later determined that (the patient’s) admission and plan for surgery to remove the tumorous kidney was based on another patient’s Computerized Tomography (CT) scan results, in error,” the report read.
Both patients had the same name, but were reportedly several years apart in age
Authorities told The Associated Press that the hospital failed to follow proper patient identification protocols, which include secondary confirmation of a patient’s identity, as with a date of birth.
“We are working to implement enhanced safeguards as identified in the CMS survey, including additional verification steps with physicians,’’ a statement from the hospital, provided to the Globe, read. “This was a deeply unfortunate situation and we will take all steps necessary to prevent it from happening again.’’
The report notes that investigators did find lapses at the hospital, including the fact that computers only displayed names, and not patients’ birth dates.