Surgeon fined $3,000 after mistakenly removing patient's kidney

A Florida surgeon has agreed to pay a $3,000 fine after removing a woman's kidney that he thought was a tumor.

West Palm Beach surgeon Ramon Vasquez cut Maureen Pacheco open in 2016 so two surgeons could perform a back operation at the Wellington Regional Medical Center, according to the Florida Board of Medicine.

But the patient had a healthy kidney that never ascended into her abdomen, prompting Vasquez to believe it was a cancerous tumor. He removed it without her consent, the board said.

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“Dr. Vazquez is an excellent surgeon who has been providing exemplary, often life-saving services in our community for many years,” the surgeon’s attorney, Michael Burt, told the Palm Beach Post. “In this instance he, in collaboration with other members of the surgical team, exercised professional judgment.”

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Vasquez admitted to not reviewing Pacheco's medical records before the surgery. She later sued the two surgeons, who each settled for $25,000.

Vasquez was sued for malpractice and settled the case for an undisclosed amount. He must also attend three hours of training on preoperative patient evaluation.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.