Surgeon Accidentally Removes Kidney During Emergency Procedure

ByWendy Ketner, M.D.


Updated on March 21, 2019

This case involves an obese 51-year-old male in Colorado who was admitted for ischemic chest pain. The patient had an EGD that was negative. The patient was found to have a polyp in the colon that was removed and an ulcer in the small intestine was noted and biopsied. After the colonoscopy, the patient had severe abdominal pain and was hypotensive. A CT scan showed evidence of a splenic laceration and resulting blood in the peritoneal cavity. The patient was taken to the operating room. During the procedure, the patient’s kidney was accidentally removed with the spleen. The patient later developed an infection secondary to his kidney removal.

Question(s) For Expert Witness

1. How often do you see patients who have had a surgically removed kidney?

2. In general, what aspects of a patient's medical chart are important in determining any effect removal of a kidney would have on a patient's future prognosis?

Expert Witness Response E-000014

inline imageOver my 41 years of practice as a physician, and specifically as a nephrologist since 1982, I have seen patients with nephrectomies for cancer, kidney donation, and surgical incidental iatrogenic complications. I have seen this occur several times. It would be difficult to say how many per year. With the advent of laparoscopy and improvement in renal biopsy techniques they occur less frequently. My research and clinical focus has been two-fold as specifically related to this case. I have also been the principal investigator, consultant, and/or researcher for projects to measure hormones that are affected by pharmacologic and non-pharmacologic therapies to prevent renal failure and preserve kidney function. In this case the combination of renoprotection and experience in having one vs two kidneys as well as my experience in this patients "presumed nephrosclerosis" (the blood vessel disease in the carotids and heart are everywhere including the kidneys) all allow me a greater understanding to allow the courts and clearer picture of how the nephrectomy will impact this patient's past, current and previous health.

About the author

Wendy Ketner, M.D.

Wendy Ketner, M.D.

Dr. Wendy Ketner is a distinguished medical professional with a comprehensive background in surgery and medical research. Currently serving as the Senior Vice President of Medical Affairs at the Expert Institute, she plays a pivotal role in overseeing the organization's most important client relationships. Dr. Ketner's extensive surgical training was completed at Mount Sinai Beth Israel, where she gained hands-on experience in various general surgery procedures, including hernia repairs, cholecystectomies, appendectomies, mastectomies for breast cancer, breast reconstruction, surgical oncology, vascular surgery, and colorectal surgery. She also provided care in the surgical intensive care unit.

Her research interests have focused on post-mastectomy reconstruction and the surgical treatment of gastric cancer, including co-authoring a textbook chapter on the subject. Additionally, she has contributed to research on the percutaneous delivery of stem cells following myocardial infarction.

Dr. Ketner's educational background includes a Bachelor's degree from Yale University in Latin American Studies and a Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) from SUNY Downstate College of Medicine. Moreover, she is a member of the Board of Advisors for Opollo Technologies, a fintech healthcare AI company, contributing her medical expertise to enhance healthcare technology solutions. Her role at Expert Institute involves leveraging her medical knowledge to provide insights into legal cases, underscoring her unique blend of medical and legal acumen.

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