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Mass. doctor reprimanded for removing wrong man’s kidney

The state panel that oversees doctors has issued a formal reprimand to a Worcester-area physician who removed a kidney from the wrong patient in July 2016, records show.

The reprimand was contained in a consent order issued to Dr. Ankur M. Parikh, a 37-year-old urologist with privileges at UMass Memorial Medical Center in Worcester, Marlborough Hospital, and Saint Vincent Hospital in Worcester, according to the state Board of Registration in Medicine.

Parikh’s lawyers didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

The five-page order, dated Dec. 20, said Parikh surgically removed the left kidney of a 65-year-old man because he believed the kidney had a tumor, after viewing the CT scan of a different patient with the same first and last name.

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Officials identified the man as Patient A in the consent order. He’s listed as Albert Hubbard Jr. in a related malpractice lawsuit pending in Worcester Superior Court. The Worcester Telegram & Gazette previously reported on the order.

The filing provided a detailed timeline of events leading up to the improper removal of Hubbard’s kidney.

He had an initial consultation with Parikh on July 12, 2016, regarding the presence of blood in his urine. Hubbard appeared as an “add-on” to Parikh’s schedule, so the doctor hadn’t reviewed Hubbard’s referral and records at the start of the day, the order said.

Parikh asked Hubbard whether he had a CT scan performed, and Hubbard said he had. So Parikh logged on to the UMass Memorial records system in an effort to view Hubbard’s scan. He entered Hubbard’s first and last name but didn’t ask for a second identifier such as a birth date, the filing said.

According to the order, the other patient’s CT scan, performed on the same bodily area on the same day as Hubbard at UMass Memorial, showed the presence of a large kidney tumor consistent with the blood found in Hubbard’s urine.

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Parikh then wrongly informed Hubbard that he had a tumor on his kidney and needed to have the organ removed. The doctor scheduled the surgery for July 20, 2016, at Saint Vincent, the order said.

Five days before surgery, Parikh saw Hubbard again and conducted a procedure that revealed a small tumor in Hubbard’s bladder, according to the filing. Parikh told Hubbard he would remove the bladder tumor right before he took out the kidney, the order said.

The board said Parikh at various times during the week leading up to the surgery logged into the UMass Memorial medical records system to view Hubbard’s CT scan.

“However, [Parikh] accessed the scan by using a tool that allows users to access images they recently viewed without reentering the patient identifiers,” the order said. “As a result, [Parikh] continuously reviewed the wrong CT scan.”

Parikh tried one final time on the day of the surgery to access Hubbard’s records from a computer at Saint Vincent, but he was blocked by a firewall that prevented access to the UMass Memorial system, the filing said.

Parikh went forward with the surgery.

“Prior to removing Patient A’s left kidney [Parikh] noted that the kidney did not feel particularly heavy,” the order said. “Despite his observations [Parikh] did not stop and attempt to review Patient A’s CT scan.”

After removing Hubbard’s kidney, Parikh got a call from a pathologist who indicated “there was no tumor present,” the document said. Parikh confirmed that finding at the lab, and his surgical assistant logged on to the UMass Memorial system on a personal laptop and found that two patients with identical names had CT scans performed on July 8, the filing said.

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Parikh then reviewed the scans and realized “he had diagnosed and operated on” Hubbard “based on his analysis of the wrong CT scan,” the order said. Parikh disclosed his mistake to Hubbard, whom the order said “suffered harm as a result of having his left kidney removed.”

Under terms of the reprimand, Parikh can continue practicing medicine in Massachusetts. But he must provide the consent order to a host of entities including any facility where he practices medicine and any licensing board in any state where he’s certified.

A spokeswoman for Saint Vincent said Thursday that Parikh remains on the hospital’s medical staff. UMass Memorial had no immediate comment.


Material from the Worcester Telegram & Gazette was used in this report. Travis Andersen can be reached at travis.andersen@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe.