Yale Medical Center sued by woman for removing wrong rib

A lawsuit was filed in the Superior Court in New Haven by a Connecticut woman against the Yale New Haven Hospital for removing part of the wrong rib during surgery and then trying to cover up the mistake.

A 60 year-old woman, Deborah Craven, from Milford, Connecticut, was scheduled to have her surgery in May 2015, to remove a potentially cancerous lesion on her eighth rib. The surgery was to be performed by Dr. Anthony Kim, a Yale attending physician, who was assisted by a hospital fellow, Ricardo Quarrie.

Plaintiff in her lawsuit stated that before the surgery, the site where the potentially cancerous lesion was located was properly marked by the radiologists by placing metallic coils into Craven's eighth rib and injecting a marking dye into her skin and the surrounding tissue. However, after the operation, Craven still experienced pain in the area, and an x-ray exam revealed the reason for her pain. According to the scan, not only had doctors removed the wrong rib, but the metal coils used in the operation had also been left inside of her.

Craven sued the hospital, Yale University School of Medicine and Dr. Anthony Kim, M.D. and his surgery trainee Ricardo Quarrie, M.D. was also added to the surgery team without informing her. She further stated that the doctors lied to her to try to cover up the mistake and then rushed her back into surgery the same day to correct it. The suit also stated that Quarrie, who was a recent graduate of the Ohio State University School of Medicine's residency in general surgery, was added to the surgery for training purposes without Craven's knowledge.

“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. He further added that “[b]ut 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."

The doctors removed her seventh rib instead of her eighth, after which Quarrie allegedly told Craven that "not enough rib" had been removed, instead of telling the truth that the wrong rib was operated on.

As a result, Craven suffered serious, painful and permanent injuries because of the two surgeries and the failure of the defendants and/or their servants, agents, apparent agents, contractors, joint venturers, principals and/or employees to provide the proper care and treatment expected of physicians and medical practitioners specializing in the field of cardiothoracic surgery”.

Additionally, a new state Department of Public Health reported there being around 80 adverse events at Yale-New Haven[1]. As per the Hospital Safety Score, a public service provided by the Leapfrog Group, a nonprofit organization “committed to driving quality, safety, and transparency in the U.S. health system,” the hospital also received a grade of C for safety and other issues[2].


[1] See LEGISLATIVE REPORT TO THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY, Adverse Event Reporting, General Statutes of Connecticut

Section 19a-127l-n dated October 2015

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