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Milford woman files suit against Yale surgeon-in-training after he removed the wrong body part

NEW HAVEN — A Milford woman has filed a lawsuit against Yale-New Haven Medical Center, Yale University School of Medicine, and two doctors after a surgeon-in-training operated on the wrong body part.

In May of 2015, Deborah Craven, 60, had two surgeries in one day because of the mistake and she says the surgical team lied about why they needed to operate again. The suit names Dr. Anthony Kim, M.D. and his surgery trainee Ricardo Quarrie, M.D. Quarrie, who was a recent graduate of Ohio State University School of Medicine’s residency in general surgery, was added to the surgery for training purposes without the knowledge of Craven, according to the suit filed in New Haven Superior Court.

Craven was at the hospital to remove a painful and potentially cancerous lesion found on her rib. According to the suit, prior to surgery, per protocol, radiologists properly marked the site where the potentially cancerous lesion was located by placing metallic coils into her rib and injecting a marking dye into her skin and surrounding tissue.

Somehow, the wrong rib was removed, and when Craven woke up, she was still in pain.  Hospital staff ordered an x-ray that revealed the metal markers were still in place in Craven’s rib and that the surgery had been performed on the 7th rib, rather than the 8th.

The lawsuit says after realizing a substantial portion of the wrong rib had been removed, Quarrie tried to cover up the mistake by stating that “not enough rib” had been removed and that an immediate repeat surgery was required.  Craven returned to the operating room for a second time.

“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.”

“We had this case reviewed by a board certified cardiothoracic surgeon who was appalled by the lack of care in this case," Faxon continued. "There were multiple opportunities to correct the error here and it was compounded by the lies of trainee doctor Quarrie. The surgical team at Yale has yet to take responsibility for its wrongdoing so now it will be up to a New Haven jury to hold them accountable.”

“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.


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