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Florida surgeon removes healthy kidney he thought was tumor

Published Nov. 7, 2018

WELLINGTON — A Florida surgeon removed a woman's healthy kidney while she was undergoing back surgery because he believed the vital organ was a cancerous tumor.

The Palm Beach Post reported last week that Maureen Pacheco has sued Ramon Vazquez and two other surgeons for malpractice. Vazquez was responsible for cutting Pacheco open in 2016 so two orthopedic surgeons, Dr. John Britt and Dr. Jeffrey Kugler, could perform the back operation.

Pacheco's attorney, Donald J. Ward, says she didn't get a say in the removal. The lawsuit was settled in September. Vazquez's attorney Mark Mittelmark says the blame lies with Wellington Regional Medical Center, which didn't tell his client that Pacheco had a pelvic kidney.

The Florida Department of Health has filed an administrative complaint with the Board of Medicine against Vazquez.

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