Scientific council agrees doctors blundered on kidney operation

Medical experts at the scientific council meeting of Can Tho General Hospital concluded that doctors had goofed up on the kidney operation of 37-year-old Hua Cam Tu as they did not check to see that the patient had horseshoe kidneys.

Patient Hua Cam Tu and her husband

The hospital’s scientific council met on Thursday to discuss further treatment for Hua Cam Tu, who hails from Thoi Lai District in the Mekong delta city of Can Tho.

The meeting was attended by urology experts like Dr. Vu Le Chuyen, President of Vietnam Urology and Nephrology Association and deputy director of Binh Dan Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City; Dr. Dam Van Cuong, head of the Department of Urology in Can Tho Medicine University; and Dr. Le Quang Dung, chief of the Department of Urology of Can Tho National General Hospital.

Dr. Nguyen Van Nghia, deputy director of the hospital, reported that the patient had horseshoe kidneys, a congenital disorder affecting 1 in 400 people.  Tu underwent laparoscopic surgery at the hospital on December 6 after being diagnosed with hydronephrosis of the left kidney, which is an enlargement due to urinary tract obstruction.

However, doctors failed to read the scan and Dr. Nguyen and his surgical team had no choice but to conduct an open operation to remove both kidneys to save Tu’s life, as they could not stop the severe excessive bleeding.

Dr. Vu Le Chuyen and Dr. Dam Van Cuong said doctors had goofed up on the operation as they should have studied the scan properly to see that the patient has a congenital disorder.

According to Dr. Vu Le Chuyen, Dr. Nguyen did the right thing to switch from laparoscopy to open abdominal surgery. Dr. Nguyen Van Nghia said when transferring from less invasive operation to open abdominal surgery, Dr. Nguyen had phoned him to report that the patient was bleeding too much and the surgical team were unable to control the bleeding.

Dr. Vu Le Chuyen said at the meeting that Hua Cam Tu was the third patient he had known having horseshoe kidneys. The first was an athlete who had injured a kidney while riding a bike. Doctors at that time did not know of the congenial disorder so they also removed both kidneys. The athlete died as at that time the country had no dialysis facilities.

The hospital board of directors and Dr. Nguyen, head of the Department of Urology, had earlier explained the surgery to Tu’s husband, 42-year-old Nguyen Thien Tri, and promised to bear costs for a lifetime of dialysis for Tu.

Dr. Le Quang Vo, director of Can Tho General Hospital told Sai Gon Giai Phong newspaper that a 29-year-old man hailing from My Tu District in the Mekong delta province of Soc Trang has agreed to give one of his kidney to Tu.

After undergoing dialysis several times, Tu is now able to have rice gruel, milk and her body is less swollen. She wished to remain healthy and return home with her three children.

The hospital’s board of management has suspended the surgical team who caused this serious blunder, promising to also inflict penalties on them.

Related article:
Can Tho Hospital to deliberate on goofed up operation

By Dinh Tuyen - Translated by Uyen Phuong

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