Hospital faulted for removing kidney from wrong patient

WORCESTER, Mass. - An investigation has found that a surgeon at a Massachusetts hospital removed a kidney from the wrong patient after failing to confirm the patient's identity.

State and federal health investigators say the surgeon in July was supposed to remove a kidney with a tumour from a patient at St. Vincent Hospital in Worcester, but instead removed a healthy kidney from a different patient with the same name.

Authorities say the hospital failed to follow proper patient identification protocols by checking birth dates. The patients were several years apart in age.

St. Vincent has been put on notice that its Medicare and Medicaid agreements with the government will be terminated unless it takes corrective action.

The hospital in a statement said it is taking "all necessary steps" to prevent a similar error.

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