A Connecticut woman has filed a lawsuit against Yale New Haven Hospital and two of its doctors for removing the wrong rib and trying to conceal their mistake.
Deborah Craven, 60, went under the knife last May to remove a segment of her eighth rib that had a precancerous lesion. Her complaint filed in the Connecticut Supreme Court alleges that not only did the doctors remove her seventh rib by accident — which required her to undergo another surgery — but also tried to conceal their mistake.
Craven discovered not all was right when she experienced extreme pain after the botched surgery. Her surgeon, Dr. Anthony Kim performed an X-ray and informed her of his mistake. To add insult to the injury, later in the day, Dr. Ricardo Quarrie, a resident at the hospital, informed her that she had to undergo another surgery because not enough of the rib had been removed.
Craven’s lawsuit accuses the doctor of covering up his mistake and accuses him of unfair trade practices.
After the incident, Craven specifically asked Quarrie not be present at her second surgery, but according to the hospital records, he was.
The hospital issued a statement in response to the charges last week, claiming its doctor took care to report the incident immediately after it occurred.
“Even in the best organizations medical errors may occur,” the statement read. ”When they do, our goal is to acknowledge them, learn from them and ensure that we minimize any chance that they ever occur again.”
Yet, this does not seem to be a case of simple human error but of gross negligence. According to the hospital reports, when Craven went in for surgery, the ailing rib was marked with metal coils and blue dye injected through the skin — the absence of the markers on the seventh rib should have alerted him to the error. What’s more, Dr. Kim, a seasoned thoracic surgeon, did not do a post-surgery X-ray to verify whether the operation was performed successfully or not. Then the hospital tried to conceal the mistakes rather than come out with the truth and issue an apology to the patient.
“Absent the lying, my client never would have instituted a lawsuit,” Craven's attorney Joel Faxon said. “As the old adage goes, the cover up is worse than the crime.”