Surgeon removes wrong kidney from patient

A California surgeon who removed the wrong kidney from a federal inmate was placed on probation by the state medical board.

The California Medical Board ruled Dr. Charles Coonan Streit, a urologist who has had a license to practice for 41 years, committed “an extreme departure from the standard of care” when he relied on his memory and removed a healthy kidney from the 59-year-old federal inmate at St. Jude Medical Center in Fullerton in 2012.

The board said the error put the patient’s “future renal function in jeopardy” and forced him to undergo a second surgery to remove the cancer-stricken kidney.

The hospital was fined $100,000 by the state Department of Health after an investigation found CT scans showing the affected the kidney had been left in the office of a surgical team doctor on the day of the surgery.

Streit was placed on probation for three years and ordered to enroll in a wrong-site surgery class at the University of California-San Diego School of Medicine within 60 days. He was also banned from supervising physician assistants for the duration of his probation.

A 2006 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association suggested wrong-site surgeries are rare, occurring an estimated once every five to 10 years at large hospitals.

A Texas man filed a lawsuit in June accusing a urologist and a radiologist of malpractice and gross negligence when his healthy kidney was removed and a cancerous kidney was left inside his body as a result of a CT scan being misread.

New York’s Mount Sinai Medical Center admitted last year surgeons removed the wrong kidney from a 77-year-old patient who was suffering issues with both kidneys.

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