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Guess the State: Surgeon will pay $3k fine for accidentally removing a kidney he thought was a cancer mass

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Dr. Ramon Vazquez, a West Palm Beach surgeon, was tasked with opening up Maureen Pacheco on April 29, 2016, at Wellington Regional Medical Center. Orthopedic surgeons were then scheduled to perform a spinal fusion to alleviate Pacheco’s lower back pain.

But Pacheco had a condition from birth in which her kidney never ascended into the abdomen and was located in her pelvic region. Vazquez saw the undeveloped but functioning organ as cancer and removed it only to find out later from a pathologist that it was, in fact, an intact pelvic kidney.

The Florida Health Department filed a complaint in December 2017, saying the cancer diagnosis was not related to the patient’s medical condition and “therefore medically unnecessary.”


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