That's what William McCormack of Bronxville, NY learned the hard way. The 43-year-old was doubled over in pain while on vacation in March. Rushed to the hospital, he was given an emergency appendectomy, according to WCBS radio. The odd part thing was that he already had undergone an appendectomy in January 2013 at Lawrence Hospital Center.
Now McCormack is suing the hospital as well as Dr. Michael Kerin. The former director of surgery was supposed to have removed the appendix but, apparently, took out something else.
The hospital told The Journal News that it is investigating the claim but would not comment on pending litigation. The court filings include a report, electronically signed by Kerin, which stated "that his appendix was removed, and all was otherwise satisfactory."
One problem, though: a pathology report from the hospital allegedly indicates that what was presented to the lab wasn't an appendix, as McCormack's lawyer, Mitchell Baker, told WCBS radio. Instead, it was "a three centimeter yellowish mass." McCormack told WCBS-TV that he was never told about the yellowish mass or about his appendix being left in.
"Dr. Kerin ... should've known what an appendix looks like," Baker said to WCBS.
Let's see, board-certified surgeon, former director of surgery at Lawrence Hospital, and member of the American College of Surgeons, as Dr. Kerin's website notes. The American Board of Surgery did verify Kerin's status, as did someone at the American College of Surgeons. So, yup, he probably should have known what an appendix looks like.
Aside from the inherent discomfort and danger of having surgery twice, leaving an unhealthy appendix in someone carried additional risks. According to the Mayo Clinic staff, appendicitis is "a condition in which your appendix becomes inflamed and fills with pus." The standard treatment is removing the appendix. Symptoms can include abdominal pain, swelling, and vomiting. Pain that keeps someone from standing or sitting needs immediate medical attention. If not removed, the appendix can rupture, leaking infection into the abdominal cavity, a condition called peritonitis that can be fatal, according to medical information site WebMD.
Kerin has opened his own practice called Michael Kerin MD General Surgery & Med Spa. It combines such surgical procedures as laparoscopy, hernia repair, breast surgery, and wound care with vein care and spa services.
In a section of the website called From the Doctor's Desk was an article, credited to iHealthSpot.com, was an article about the first removal of an appendix through someone's mouth. Other than one small incision near the navel, the procedure is supposedly otherwise scarless. Plus, how can you miss that sucker coming out? After McCormack's alleged experience, just call it additional peace of mind.