Surgeon in Austria fined for amputating patient’s wrong leg

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An Austrian surgeon has been fined €2,700 for accidentally amputating the wrong leg of a patient.

The 43-year-old woman was found guilty of “grossly negligent injury” and pleaded “human error”.

The regional court in the northern city of Linz imposed a fine of €2,700, half of which is suspended.

Judges also awarded €5,000 in civil damages to the widow of the patient.

The 82-year-old patient — who has since died — had arrived at the Freistadt clinic in May to have his left leg removed, but shortly before the operation, the wrong limb was marked. The mistake was only discovered during a bandage change two days later.

The court in Linz stated on Wednesday that for an operation of such importance “double and triple-checking was necessary”.

The clinic had publically apologised and said “the causes and circumstances of this medical error have been analysed in detail”.

The surgeon had claimed that the chain of command in the operating theatre was at fault and can appeal the fine. She has since moved to another facility.

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