A man who went in to get his appendix removed woke up to find out that doctors removed a totally different organ instead, nearly killing him right there on the operating table
A man who says doctors removed the wrong organ when he came in for an appendectomy says, “It’s been a hell of a year,” as he recovers from his near-death experience.
George Piano, 72, is suing doctors at the University of Washington Medical Center Northwest for malpractice after he woke up from what should have been a simple procedure in a dire state after a scan two days later revealed that doctors removed a part of his colon.
Piano filed a 13-page lawsuit detailing the ordeal, which he says started in December 2022 when he walked into an emergency room complaining of stomach pain and was diagnosed with appendicitis. Doctors said his appendix had to go – a common procedure that over 280,000 people a year go through.
The surgery should have stopped Piano’s stomach pain. But he woke up in a worse condition than before. “When I woke up and came out of the drugs, I was in serious pain,” he recalled. “Much worse than I had been in when I went to the hospital.”
The lawsuit claims that doctors “couldn’t find his appendix,” and a CT scan done two days later showed that his appendix was still there, but a piece of his colon was missing.
“I’m not the same person I was when this started,” Piano said in an interview with local CBS affiliate KIRO-TV. “I was suffering from a leaking colon that created sepsis and infection,” Piano told KIRO. “And I almost died from it.”
In addition, doctors punctured his colon during the surgery, “causing its contents to spill into his abdominal cavity,” making him much sicker. To fix the colon, he had to endure a second surgery that helped manage the infection. After that, Piano said he underwent four additional surgeries.
Piano’s lawsuit specifies that he spent 53 days in the hospital, during which he needed an ileostomy bag. During the operations and recovery, he lost about 40 pounds and had a wound “the size of a pool ball in his abdomen” for months.
Now, Piano suffers from anxiety, short-term memory loss, and intense pain. “It’s been a rough haul,” Piano told KIRO. Piano says that when the original doctor came to visit him days later to talk about the situation, “she seemed to just make light of it.”
Personal injury attorney Edward Moore is representing Piano in the lawsuit, and called the ordeal “mind-boggling.” I’ve never heard of someone who was unable to locate an appendix,” Moore told KIRO. “For it to result in this kind of harm and disruption is mind-boggling,” said Moore.
A rep from the University of Washington Medicine said the hospital could not comment on the pending litigation, instead providing a statement to USA Today. “UW Medicine strives to provide the best possible care to all of our patients; their safety and well-being is deeply important to us,” it read.
Sarah Carter is a health and wellness expert residing in the UK. With a background in healthcare, she offers evidence-based advice on fitness, nutrition, and mental well-being, promoting healthier living for readers.