Can one man actually have his appendix removed twice? The answer is a resounding “no.” However, that almost seemed to be the case for one Westchester, New York resident when, in March, he began experiencing an unwanted, familiar feeling. During a visit to Lake Placid, 43-year-old William McCormack seemed to be suffering from déjà vu, the feeling that he had somehow been in the same predicament not too long ago. In fact, he had. After being rushed to the hospital for the second time in 15 months, it was discovered that McCormack had one more body part in his inventory than was previously thought. Now, William McCormack is suing Lawrence Medical Center in Bronxville for neglecting to perform the correct procedure and leaving him with a faulty appendix – a potential ticking time bomb he walked around with for over a year.
Two conflicting reports from Lawrence Medical Center indicate the doctors may not have been aware of what was actually taken from McCormack’s body. Or were they? According to McCormack’s lawyer, the center’s operative report claims that his appendix was, in fact, removed in 2013. However, even if that was a total oversight on the part of the surgeon, Dr. Michael Kerin, there is a pathology report which provides analysis of the removed contents. According to McCormack’s pathology report, no appendix was ever removed. Did anyone actually look at the report? Was it ignored? These questions are certain to provide the basis for the Westchester man’s lawsuit,which asserts that the hospital neglected to remove his appendix. Moreover, if they had been aware of the mistake, why confidently tell McCormack the operation had been a success?
While the pathology report indicates something was removed from McCormack’s body, it was some type of yellowish mass, and not an appendix. Lawyers for McCormack are claiming Kerin knew the procedure had been faulty, yet neglected to tell his client. They assert that Lawrence Medical Center failed to tell McCormack that “… there was no evidence of an appendix in the specimen… and/or that something had gone amiss in the operation… ” William McCormack, a New York investment banker, is suing for an undisclosed amount.
This is certainly not the first time a hospital or surgeon has come under scrutiny for malpractice, i.e. performing a procedure or operation incorrectly. However what is most concerning in this instance is the ignorance of the pathology report, which almost acts as a fail-safe if the initial work produces unintended results. Another medical professional, Dr. Max Gomez, weighed in on the error, saying that: “small incision surgery or laparoscopic surgery can actually be tougher for the surgeon because he or she can’t actually get their hands in there… They don’t see as well… and really follow the tissue back to its origin to make sure that in fact it is the appendix…” However, Gomez went on to indicate that, despite a possible mishap, the pathology report should have provided evidence that the appendix was not removed. As a result of neglecting to remove his appendix and oversight of follow-up procedures, one New York hospital is now being sued by a Westchester man who is lucky that his appendix did not burst.
Opinion by Josh Taub