Wrong patient gets heart surgery

Johannesburg - An 83-year-old woman who was being treated for a respiratory infection in the Mediclinic Kimberley underwent heart surgery when she was mistaken for another patient, Beeld reported on Wednesday.

Mediclinic spokesperson Denise Coetzee told the newspaper a misunderstanding between two specialists led to Rita du Plessis being operated on on 25 July.

She was in the same ward as another elderly woman and both were patients of the same physician.

"The physician requested the surgeon to take his patient to theatre for a procedure to remove excessive moisture around the heart," she was quoted as saying.

"Unfortunately, he got confused with their surnames and he gave the wrong patient's name to the surgeon over the phone."

Coetzee told Beeld that Du Plessis was not able to give permission for the operation herself and the surgeon had to contact her husband.

During ward rounds the physician realised his mistake when he saw that Du Plessis was not there and he was told she was in surgery.

Beeld reported that the physician contacted the family to apologise and after the surgery the surgeon called Du Plessis's family to tell them the operation was a success.

According to the report, the hospital apologised for the confusion and the hospital, the surgeon, and the anaesthetist did not charge for the operation.

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