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A Riverside doctor removes wrong kidney

September 3, 2009 9:45:45 PM PDT
It is something that is never supposed to happen: an organ or a body part removed by mistake. Through a translator, Francisco Torres said when he found out doctors made an unbelievable mistake during surgery, he didn't know how to react. He was just astonished.

It all happened earlier this summer. Torres was admitted to Parkview Community Hospital Medical Center. Dr. Erik Wahlstrom was assigned to remove Torres' left diseased kidney.

In Torres' medical records, a number of references to the left kidney and a left renal mass can be seen.

However, just days before the surgery, the documents show a change. Notes begin referring to the right kidney.

And that's what Torres says happened. His perfectly healthy right kidney was removed instead of the left one, resulting in a massive mistake.

Torres says he doesn't see a point in continuing to live.

"The big question we have is how can that happen? Why isn't somebody saying, 'Gee, today it's right, and for the past two weeks it's been left,'" says Shirley Watkins, Torres' attorney.

"Somebody should be asking the questions and critically thinking about what's going on," says Watkins.

Watkins says a simple mistake over one word means that Torres can't live at home and will now require dialysis three days a week, because after the mistake, doctors still had to remove the bad kidney.

"So he's left without a kidney, and for many people on lifelong dialysis, there's no question it's going to have some effect on the quality of his life and life expectancy," adds Watkins.

Watkins filed this lawsuit on Torres' behalf last week, and Dr. Wahlstrom and Parkview Medical Center are named as defendants. They are seeking damages in the seven-figure range.

Eyewitness news tried to contact the hospital, as well as the attorney for Dr. Wahlstrom, but so far, they have not responded.

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