Lawsuit filed against hospital after woman says doctor removed the wrong body part

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NEW HAVEN, Conn. - A woman has filed a lawsuit after she says doctors operated on the wrong body part.

According to FOX 61, 60-year-old Deborah Craven was forced to undergo two surgeries in one day because of a mistake.

Craven says doctors discovered a painful and potentially cancerous lesion on her rib.

According to the lawsuit, radiologists properly marked the site where the lesion was located by placing metallic coils into her rib and injecting marking dye into her skin and surrounding tissue.

At some point, Craven says the wrong rib was removed and she woke up still in pain.

Following an x-ray, staff realized the metal markers were still in place and that surgeons removed the 7th rib, rather than the 8th.

Craven says doctors tried to cover up the mistake by saying that "not enough rib" had been removed, which is when Craven was brought in for the second surgery.

“The fact that the surgical team operated on the wrong rib despite a clear indication of the proper site is, of course, negligent,” said Craven’s attorney, Joel T. Faxon of Faxon Law Group in New Haven. “But the fact that a cardiothoracic surgeon in training would make the outrageous claim that ‘not enough rib had been taken’ really takes this to another level of culpability. Making the patient undergo another surgery the same day, without owning up to the real medical reason for the repeat surgery is just plain deceitful. Absent the lying my client never would have instituted a lawsuit.  As the old adage goes the cover up is worse than the crime.”

Hospital officials say mistakes happen and apologize for Craven's ordeal.

"Yale-New Haven Hospital and Yale Medical Group are committed to providing the safest and highest quality of care possible.  However, even in the best organizations medical errors  may occur.  When they do, our goal is to acknowledge them, learn from them, and ensure that we minimize any chance that they ever occur again.  With respect to the case of Ms. Craven, we recognized that an error was made, we informed and apologized to the patient, and we immediately reported it to the Connecticut Department of Public Health," said Mark D'Antonio, Media Relations Coordinator for Yale-New Haven Hospital.