A Washington man is suing a hospital and two of its doctors for malpractice for allegedly removing the wrong organ during surgery, nearly costing him his life.
“It’s been a hell of a year,” George Piano, 72, told USA Today while detailing the alleged mishap, which he says occurred Dec. 6, 2022 at the University of Washington Medical Center Northwest.
According to the 13-page lawsuit he filed last week, the Lake Forest Park resident visited the facility’s emergency room due to abdominal pain, whereupon medics diagnosed him with appendicitis and said his appendix had to go.
Piano said things didn’t go as planned.
“When I woke up and came out of the drugs, I was in serious pain,” he recalled. “Much worse than I had been in when I went to the hospital.”
He claims doctors were unable to locate his appendix and ended up removing a part of his lower colon instead.
A CT scan two days later revealed the inflamed appendix was still there, prompting Piano to have it extracted at UWMCN, local CBS affiliate KIRO-TV reported.
Meanwhile, doctors had allegedly punctured his colon during the initial operation, causing its contents to spill into his abdominal cavity and make him “much sicker.”
“I was suffering from a leaking colon that created sepsis and infection,” Piano told KIRO. “And I almost died from it.”
Piano said he underwent another surgery to repair his colon and manage the infection.
He claims that when the surgeon who performed the alleged botched appendectomy addressed the situation eight days later, “she seemed to just make light of it.”
Personal injury attorney Edward Moore, who is representing Piano, called the ordeal “mind-boggling.”
“I’ve never heard of someone who was unable to locate an appendix,” Moore told KIRO. “For it to result in this kind of harm and disruption is mind-boggling.”
Surgeons Nidhi Udyavar and Paul Herman are named in the suit.
A representative for University of Washington Medicine said the hospital could not comment on the pending litigation, instead providing a statement to USA Today.
“UW Medicine strives to provide the best possible care to all of our patients; their safety and well-being is deeply important to us,” it read.
Piano said he underwent four additional surgeries, spent 53 days in the hospital, needed an ileostomy bag, lost about 40 pounds, had a wound the size of a pool ball in his abdomen for months, and suffered anxiety, short-term memory loss and intense pain.
“It’s been a rough haul,” Piano told KIRO.
He is seeking a jury trial and monetary damages, although the exact dollar amount is not known.
“I’m not the same person I was when this started,” Piano lamented to KIRO.
He hopes the lawsuit will help prevent other hospital patients from finding themselves in similar situations.
“Someone needed to put a stop to this and take responsibility and say this happened — we need to take steps to make sure it doesn’t happen again,” Piano said.