Surgeon Confesses to Performing Wrong Surgery on Patient

December 1, 2010 – Boston, MA – A hand surgeon has publicly admitted to mistakenly performing the wrong surgery on a patient.  According to an article on, several things went wrong in Massachusetts General Hospital before the surgical mix-up. There was a last minute switch of operating rooms, a busy schedule of surgeries and several interruptions in standard safety procedures just before the surgery was supposed to begin.  All of this led to Dr. David Ring performing a surgery to treat carpal tunnel pain on a 65-year-old woman who was supposed to be undergoing a trigger-finger-release surgery to unstick the ring finger on her left hand. Dr. Ring did not realize this error until about 15 minutes after the operation was over.  The doctor immediately apologized to his patient for the surgical mistake and offered to perform the proper procedure, should the patient wish him to do so. Though the second operation went well, the woman refused to have Dr. Ring as her after-care doctor. According to the woman’s son, the woman had “lost faith” in the doctor.  Dr. Ring published a very public admission of error in a recent issue of The New England Journal of Medicine. This action, which should be far more commonplace, has impressed many medical professionals.  A group of officials at the hospital reviewed the case, emphasized the standard surgical protocols Ring should have followed and coached him on how to prevent such future mistakes. To these doctors, Dr. Ring commented, “I hope that none of you ever have to go through what my patient and I went through. I no longer see these protocols as a burden. That is the lesson.”  Whether or not medical malpractice charges will be filed against Dr. Ring or the hospital is unknown at this time.

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