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Last year when Roland N. Smith, 83-years-old, learned that he had a cancerous tumor growing on his right kidney he was relieved to learn that it could be safely removed. By the time Smith arrived at the Idaho Falls hospital for surgery the tumor had grown to the size of a grapefruit. Despite the growth he was assured by the surgical team at Mountain View Hospital that the operation was safe to proceed as scheduled. What he did not bother to confirm was that they would perform the surgery on the right kidney and not the left one. But according to a malpractice lawsuit filed by Smith, the attending surgeons, Roger H. Tall and David J. Chamberlain, operated on and accidentally removed his perfectly healthy left kidney.

According to Smith’s attorney, on August 23, 2016 Tall and Chamberlain conducted the surgery without reviewing the documents that clearly stated the tumor was on his right kidney. In addition, the doctors were only supposed to remove the tumor and not the kidney itself. Court documents show that in July 2016, Smith’s radiologist mislabeled a report stating that the tumor was on the left kidney and not the right one. This does not explain, however, why the surgeons completely removed the kidney. Especially because a camera was used during the surgery so they should have seen that there was no tumor and stopped the operation.

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“Instead,” according to the malpractice lawsuit, “in complete disregard of the most fundamental medical safety standards, the group surgically removed Smith’s healthy, non-cancerous left kidney, leaving his cancerous and lethal right kidney undisturbed and intact.”

After the surgery the kidney was sent to the pathology department for analysis and the doctors were informed that the organ was healthy. Yet Smith’s attorney claims that the doctors in question filed a false report stating that the procedure was “completely uneventful.” In addition, a week after Smith’s discharge, Tall wrote that the kidney was taken out after the analysis of his medical scans. But the malpractice lawsuit states that the doctors did not carefully scrutinize the scans or else they would’ve taken out the tumor and not the healthy kidney.
The malpractice lawsuit filed in Bonneville County is now pending. Smith’s lawyers are seeking financial compensation for any future and past medical costs as well as the physical and emotional pain caused by the alleged negligence.

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