Doctor Accidentally Removes a Kidney

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Medical/Surgical Operative Photography

Medical “expert”…?

Generally, people trust doctors to have a grasp on what is going on with their health issues, especially when surgery is involved. While the finer details can sometimes be left to the professionals, a woman from Iowa has some fairly valid complaints against the doctor who performed her surgery. Dena Knapp had surgery to remove a mass on her adrenal gland in 2016, but woke up without a kidney. A South Dakota doctor named Scott Baker performed the procedure and originally stated that he “did not get everything”; which is not entirely true (he did accidentally “get” a healthy kidney). Knapp is suing for an undisclosed amount after suffering from complications. 

Not only did Dr. Scott Baker unnecessarily remove an organ, but he actually did not fully remove the mass on Dena Knapp’s gland. A second surgery was scheduled to go in and complete that procedure. Knapp is claiming medical malpractice and is also now suffering from degenerative kidney disease. Other symptoms currently include fatigue, pain, depression, and mental distress as a result of the botched procedure. Knapp also named the hospital in the lawsuit, which is The Surgical Institute of South Dakota.

Ouch. This will most likely be an expensive mistake for the doctors, hospital team, and specifically Scott Baker. It would not be surprising if he lost his license for this mistake. Normally, the doctors and patient meet pre-surgery and go over the procedure before anyone goes under the knife, so the actual mistake here is a bit puzzling. It seems curious that Baker removed this kidney; could he not tell that it was healthy, and could he not see the problematic adrenal gland? Also, does this mean that someone else did NOT have their kidney removed (meaning the patients got swapped)? Either way, this is an unfortunate and very surprising situation.