Surgeon fined in Austria after wrong leg amputation


A 43-year surgeon at Klinikum Freistadt in Linz in Austria was fined 2,700 euros ($3,000) on Wednesday because she was found to have amputated a patient’s wrong leg on May 18. The elderly patient, an 82-year-old, suffered from multiple medical conditions that affected both of his legs.After the wrong surgery, the mistake that was only discovered when the patient’s dressings were being changed the next day. Accused of “grossly negligent bodily harm”, under Austrian law she cannot be named. Linz Regional Court’s vice president declared that „the surgeon on May 18 “carried out an inadequate clarification with the existing medical records and the photo documentation before the operation for the planned amputation of the left thigh and thus marked the right leg for the surgical intervention.” A statement issued by the hospital described a “disastrous combination of circumstances” to be considered.


The patient who still had to have his left leg amputated died later of unrelated causes. The court also awarded $5,666 in damages to the widow of the patient. The accused and the prosecutor have until Dec. 6 to appeal the decision. The surgeon has changed clinics and said there was a flaw in the chain of command.