A Florida surgeon made the grievous mistake of removing a woman’s healthy kidney because he mistook the vital organ for a cancerous tumor.

By Savannah Smith

The victim, Maureen Pacheco, was then undergoing a back surgery when the surgeon, Ramon Vazquez made the error. As a result, Pacheco is suing Vazquez and two other surgeons for malpractice.

Vazquez was in charge of cutting Pacheco open in 2016 so that two surgeons identified as Dr. John Britt and Dr. Jeffrey Kugler could perform the back operation.

Pacheco needed the back surgery in 2016 because she has been suffering from back pains due to a car accident. She checked into Wellington Regional Medical Center confident they will be able to fully fix what’s wrong with her back by getting the bones in her lower back fused, but she came out losing more- a fully functioning kidney.

Pacheco’s lawyer, Donald J. Ward, said that what’s even worse was that Pacheco as a patient never even had a say on the crucial matter. Ward added: “As you can imagine, when someone goes in for a back surgery, she would never expect to wake up and be told when she’s just waking up from anesthesia, that one of her kidney’s has been unnecessarily removed.”

Florida’s Department of Health has discovered that such unimaginable errors occur in about 1 of 112,000 surgical procedures.

Vazquez’s attorney, Mark Mittelmark, said that his client settled “for a nominal amount” due to “the uncertainty of the litigation.” Their side insists, however, that the doctor never admitted any liability by agreeing to such settlement.

The Department of Insurance Regulation said the malpractice insurers for Pacheco’s primary surgeons, Dr. John Britt and Dr. Jeffrey Kugler, settled for $250,000 apiece.

Medical experts say that Pacheco’s body can function with only one kidney left, but she is now more susceptible to chronic kidney disease and renal failure.