A doctor from an Austrian clinic in Freistadt, Upper Austria, faces up to two years in prison for amputating the wrong leg of an 82-year-old patient. The hearing will take place at the District Court in Linz on December 1, informing the Nachrichten portal.
The wrong leg amputation of an 82-year-old man at the Freystadt clinic in May 2021 will have legal consequences. The attending physician must appear on December 1 in Linz County Court on the charge Gross negligence resulting in bodily injury in particularly dangerous circumstances – Reports to Prosecutor Ulrik Braytender. The doctor faces up to two years in prison.
As described in the portal, the patient’s legs were damaged due to previous illnesses. A planned amputation was to be performed at the thigh level on the left leg. “However, before the operation, the accused had clearly marked the wrong leg, and no one realized. Only two days after the operation, while changing clothes, a tragic mistake was discovered” – reports the portal. The patient’s other leg – originally intended for removal surgery – was also amputated.
Clinic officials said they were “deeply upset” and admitted to making a medical error. They sent the relevant documents to the Prosecutor’s Office in Linz, which led to the filing of an indictment. The clinic also called on staff to “make more detailed checks on security procedures.”
Nachrichten recalls another case, also one related to medical malpractice: in January, a healthy prostate was accidentally removed from a patient at Kepler University Hospital in Linz. Biopsies were taken from two patients with suspected prostate cancer and samples were sent to a laboratory in Erlangen, Germany for examination.
It turned out that one of the men had prostate cancer, and in the other the examination showed no abnormalities. This was probably where the samples were exchanged. The error was noticed when, after an operation on a healthy man, the removed tissue fragments were re-examined for pathological changes. The Public Prosecutor’s Office opened an investigation into the matter on charges of gross negligence, but the case has not been decided yet.
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