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Surgeon on probation for removing wrong kidney

The California Medical Board said Dr. Charles Coonan Streit committed "an extreme departure from the standard of care."

By
Ben Hooper
Doctors perform surgery in a hospital operating room. Photo by Kzenon/Shutterstock
Doctors perform surgery in a hospital operating room. Photo by Kzenon/Shutterstock

FULLERTON, Calif., Dec. 3 (UPI) -- A California surgeon who removed the wrong kidney from a federal inmate was placed on probation by the state medical board.

The California Medical Board ruled Dr. Charles Coonan Streit, a urologist who has had a license to practice for 41 years, committed "an extreme departure from the standard of care" when he relied on his memory and removed a healthy kidney from the 59-year-old federal inmate at St. Jude Medical Center in Fullerton in 2012.

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The board said the error put the patient's "future renal function in jeopardy" and forced him to undergo a second surgery to remove the cancer-stricken kidney.

The hospital was fined $100,000 by the state Department of Health after an investigation found CT scans showing the affected the kidney had been left in the office of a surgical team doctor on the day of the surgery.

Streit was placed on probation for three years and ordered to enroll in a wrong-site surgery class at the University of California-San Diego School of Medicine within 60 days. He was also banned from supervising physician assistants for the duration of his probation.

A 2006 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association suggested wrong-site surgeries are rare, occurring an estimated once every five to 10 years at large hospitals.

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A Texas man filed a lawsuit in June accusing a urologist and a radiologist of malpractice and gross negligence when his healthy kidney was removed and a cancerous kidney was left inside his body as a result of a CT scan being misread.

New York's Mount Sinai Medical Center admitted last year surgeons removed the wrong kidney from a 77-year-old patient who was suffering issues with both kidneys.

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