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Iowa clinic misdiagnoses cancer, removes prostate by mistake

On Behalf of | Feb 7, 2019 | Medical Malpractice

Two years ago, an Iowa clinic mistakenly removed a man’s healthy prostate gland after misdiagnosing him with cancer. The case involving the 67-year-old Iowa native is now set to go to trial this April.

Back in 2017, the clinic confused the patient’s slides containing tissue samples with a patient who tested positive for prostate cancer. As a result, a urologist removed the prostate gland in April of 2017 at the Iowa Methodist Medical Center in Des Moines, Iowa. Tragically, after the surgery, another doctor noticed that the prostate was perfectly healthy. Sadly, these types of medical errors occur every day across the United States.

A study by Johns Hopkins found medical errors are the third leading cause of fatalities in the United States after cancer and heart disease. Data suggests a quarter of a million Americans die as a result of these mistakes each year. That is around 4,800 people a week or 685 people each day.

The National Center on Biotechnology Information (NCBI) reports the most common medical errors happen in intensive care, emergency departments and operating rooms. Commonly, medical errors involve the following:

  • Misdiagnosis
  • Medication errors
  • Adverse reactions to medications
  • Surgical errors
  • Wrong-patient, wrong-site, wrong-side surgeries
  • Infections
  • Defective medical equipment

The clinic believes the mistake happened in the process of using a bar code scanner. According to a recent article, the “bar code scanner used to match test slides with patient records apparently read the bar code from the wrong patient’s form in a stack of papers.”

As a result, the Iowa man will now suffer life-long injuries as a result of the unnecessary surgery. The patient is currently experiencing trouble controlling urination, as well as other symptoms associated with prostate removal. The most common symptoms of prostate removal include pain and difficulty urinating, erectile dysfunction, loss of fertility, lymphedema and swelling in the groin area.

Being the victim of a medical error can be devastating and have life-altering consequences. If you or someone you love are a victim of a medical error, consult with an experienced medical malpractice attorney to discuss your options and fight for the compensation you deserve.


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