Surgeon Who Removed Wrong Organ Had "Bad Luck"

The doctor was the victim of "bad luck," medical board says

By Todd Wright
|  Tuesday, Jun 8, 2010  |  Updated 1:44 AM EDT
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Surgeon Who Removed Wrong Organ Had "Bad Luck"

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The state Board of Medicine has ruled a South Florida surgeon, who took out a healthy kidney instead of a gallbladder during an operation, wasn't inept or careless.

The board said Bernard Zaragoza is a good doctor, but he had bad luck. We'd say it was the patient who had the worst luck.

The unidentified man died of heart failure three weeks after the surgery.

In 2007, Zaragoza operated on an 83-year-old patient who was having some internal issues in Miramar. The patient's kidney was located where his gallbladder should have been, a rare occurrence experts said.

 Zaragoza, a University of Miami grad, cut the kidney out before discovering that.

"It's a complication I never heard of, dreamed of, or imagined could happen" he said. "I was completely mortified."

A state hearing officer recommended a penalty of a $5,000 fine and 50 hours of community service. Despite siding with the doctor, the board said it still had to punish him, according to Health News Florida.

"If I could make these costs go away, I would,” a board member said. “But we just can’t.”

Zaragoza has to reimburse the state $25,000 for the state's costs of investigation and prosecution.

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