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02nd Dec 2021

Surgeon fined €2,700 for amputating wrong leg of patient

Charlie Herbert

Surgeon fined for amputating wrong leg

The surgeon said it was ‘human error’

A surgeon has been found guilty of gross negligence and fined €2,700 after amputating the wrong leg of an elderly patient.

The incident happened on May 18 earlier this year, when the 43-year-old surgeon marked the wrong leg of an 82-year-old man for amputation at the Freistadt Clinic in Austria, noticing the mistake two days after the operation.

The clinic issued a public apology when the error first came to light and that the mistake happened “as a result of a sequence of unfortunate circumstances.”

The surgeon had said that her actions were due to “human error”, adding that it was not just an individual mistake but that there was a flaw in the chain of control in the operation theatre.

However on Wednesday December 1, a spokesperson for the tribunal in the northern city of Linz announced that the judge found the surgeon guilty of gross negligence and fined her €2,700 ($3,060), with half the amount suspended.

The Guardian reports that the patient had been suffering from many illnesses and died before the case came to court.

The court awarded €5,000 in damages plus interest to the widow of the patient.

The surgeon has since been moved to another clinic and will be able to appeal against the judgement.

In a statement, the management of the Freistadt Clinic said that “the causes and circumstances of this medical error have been analysed in detail”, with internal procedures discussed with the team and training provided.

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