Doctor accidentally amputates wrong leg of patient

An Austrian doctor has been fined £2,301 for amputating the wrong leg of her patient. When asked about why it happened, she said it was a ‘human error.’

Doctor accidentally amputates the wrong leg of patient
© National Cancer Institute/UNSPLASH
Doctor accidentally amputates the wrong leg of patient

On 18 May, a horrific accident took place in Freistadt Clinic in Austria that changed a man’s life. The 82-year-old patient was due to have his left leg amputated because of an underlying illness, but his doctor accidentally marked up his right leg for the procedure.

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Horrible mistake

The blunder was only noticed by the nurses two days later and he then had to get his left leg amputated as planned. When news of the amputation broke out, the clinic released a statement which said:

A disastrous combination of circumstances led to the patient's right leg being amputated instead of his left.
We would also like to affirm that we will be doing everything to unravel the case, to investigate all internal processes and critically analyse them. Any necessary steps will immediately be taken.

Court case

The case was taken to the Linz Regional Court on 1 December, where the doctor was questioned about how the mix-up occurred. According to a local news agency, she replied saying:

I just don’t know.

As reported by LadBible, the doctor revealed that there were ‘errors in surgical planning’ and a lack of proper information on the patient file. She added saying that it was a ‘human error.’ The judge then declared her guilty of gross negligence and slapped her with a fine of around £2,301.

Since the incident took place, the doctor was suspended and then moved to another clinic. Unfortunately, the patient who was wrongly treated died before the court case could begin, but his widow was granted over £4,000 in damages by the judge.

Surgeon amputates wrong leg of elderly patient Surgeon amputates wrong leg of elderly patient