Doc Pays $1.4M for Removing Wrong Ovary

Woman's stomach with marker lines for surgery

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Going under the knife is stressful enough. Having to worry about the surgeon operating on the wrong side is almost unthinkable.

But it happens more than you might think – an estimated 40 times per week, according to a hospital accrediting group.

In one recent example, a jury awarded a young medical student $1.4 million against the doctor who removed the wrong ovary.

Nadege Neim, was pregnant when she went to her gynecologist, Dr. Maureen Muoneke, who performed an ultrasound revealing a mass on her left ovary. Her doctor told her it was probably benign but could grow or become malignant. Three months later, Neim had a second ultrasound, showing that the mass was still there but her right side was fine. This time, Dr. Muoneke recommended she have the mass removed.

Instead of removing the tumor on the left side, Dr. Muoneke removed Neim’s entire right ovary and fallopian tube.

Even after the surgery, when Neim went for a follow-up complaining of pelvic pain on her right side, Dr. Muoneke reviewed the pathology report but didn’t say anything to Neim about her mistake during surgery.

According to Neim’s medical malpractice lawsuit, it wasn’t until Neim couldn’t stand her continuing right-side pelvic pain anymore that she went to another hospital’s ER and finally found out about the error.

After a jury trial in which Neim’s new gynecologist testified that “the wrong ovary was removed” during Dr. Muoneke’s surgery, a jury awarded Neim $1.42 million.

Attorney Andrew Slutkin

“If it can happen to a medical student, it can happen to anyone,” said Neim’s attorney, Andrew G. Slutkin, of the law firm Silverman Thompson Slutkin & White.

Slutkin said wrong-side surgeries can be prevented with simple checks by hospitals like making sure that x-rays are not flipped, and that the jury’s verdict will hold hospitals accountable.

“The reason to sue is not only to recover Mrs. Neim’s losses but to put the medical community on notice so when our loved ones go in for surgery, we know they will be safe,” said Slutkin.

 

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