Dr. Scott Baker is being sued after he erroneously removed a woman’s healthy right kidney instead of removing an adrenal gland and mass during a 2016 surgery in Sioux Falls
A South Dakota surgeon insists he should not be penalized for removing a woman’s healthy kidney instead of her adrenal gland.
Dr Scott Baker is being sued by his patient Dena Knapp, who claims his medical error in 2016 left her with stage three kidney disease, depression and chronic fatigue.
But today, a month after Knapp filed her suit, Dr Baker has responded, agreeing that he committed the mix-up described – but denying that in doing so he breached the standard of care.
In a joint response with his hospital, The Surgical Institute of South Dakota, Dr Baker says he does not believe Ms Knapp suffered the consequences she describes.
According to Ms Knapp’s account, which Dr Baker admits is true, Dr Baker was informed immediately after the surgery that he had removed the organ and had left in the offending one.
The error had been spotted the same day in a scan by the pathology department at Avera McKennan Hospital.
Dr Baker called Knapp to tell her that he ‘did not get everything’ and she eventually decided to have a second surgery at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, to remove the gland and mass.
The adrenal glands sit at the top of each kidney, producing hormones to regulate sugar, fat and protein in the body, as well as keeping blood pressure under control.
They do this by producing a number of hormones, including adrenaline, cortisol and aldosterone.
When those hormone levels become imbalanced, it can derail blood sugar levels, blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
In turn, this could lead to life-threatening conditions, including kidney failure.
Beyond fatigue and depression, the lawsuit says Ms Knapp is now so incapacitated that she has had to hire cleaners to maintain her home.
‘Further,’ the lawsuit says, ‘since the erroneous surgery, Dena has been unable to perform many functions and has required replacement services to clean and maintain her home, the past and future cost of which is yet to be determined.’