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Surgeon in Canada Makes Operating Room Mistake

An operating theatre (gynecological hospital o...

When you have an operation, it probably causes you some worry and apprehension. However, if you have confidence in the surgeon who is performing your surgery, it goes a long way towards easing your worries and fears. You feel like you are in good hands when you trust your surgeon.

The last thing that you are probably worried about is your surgeon making a mistake. You are probably not thinking about your surgeon being guilty of medical malpractice.

This is what happened in May, 2012 in Canada. A surgeon made an operating room mistake.

Routine lumpectomy


Dr. Barbara Heartwell made a mistake when she took out the lymph nodes from a woman who thought she was having a routine lumpectomy. A lumpectomy is a surgical procedure in which a lump is removed from a woman’s breast.

David Musyj, the CEO of Windsor Regional Hospital, said that the pathology department got the test results of two women mixed up. One was of a woman in an advanced stage of breast cancer. The other was of the healthy woman who had her lymph nodes mistakenly removed by Dr. Heartwell.

Musyj refused to put the blame on Dr. Heartwell. He said, “As CEO, I’m the one responsible if policies and procedures are not followed. This happened on my watch. I’m responsible, not the surgeon.”

Ongoing investigation


Even though Musyj has taken responsibility for Dr. Heartwell’s mistake, there is an ongoing investigation into this incident. Musyj said that the pathologist who got the test results mixed up has taken time off. He went on to say that the worker is “remorseful and distraught”.  He also added that the worker is “a good worker with no history”.

This is not the first operating room mistake that Dr. Heartwell has made. It was reported by “The Huffington Canada” that Dr. Heartwell made another operating room mistake in 2009. At that time Dr. Heartwell mistakenly took out a breast from a healthy woman. The end result was a 2.2 million dollar lawsuit.

In this 2009 incident, Dr. Heartwell misread a pathology report which said the patient’s breast lump was non-cancerous. As the 2009 case was being investigated, the hospital learned that another woman had a mastectomy that she did not need in 2001 while under the care of Dr. Heartwell.

Operating room privileges reinstated


After the 2009 incident, Dr. Heartwell decided not to operate again. However, later on, she changed her mind and asked the hospital to reinstate her privilege to perform operations. The hospital’s responded by suspending Dr. Heartwell. The same hospital board of directors, however, decided to reinstate her operating privileges in March, 2011.

Have you or a loved one been the victim of medical malpractice? Do you believe that you were hurt by sub-standard medical care? Do you believe that someone should be held accountable for the mistake or mistakes that were made?

A personal injury lawyer will help you to understand what your legal options are. A personal injury lawyer will explain how a medical malpractice case works and help you decide on what is in your best interests.
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