Doctor Cuts Healthy Portion of Cancerous Brain
Jun. 22, 1995
NEW YORK (AP) _ A neurosurgeon mistakenly operated on the healthy part of a cancer patient's brain after pulling pictures of the wrong person's skull, hospital officials said Thursday.
Rajeswari Ayyappan, the 59-year-old mother of Indian film star Sridevi, was in stable condition Thursday after the botched May 26 operation.
No one at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, the world-renowned hospital where the operation took place, or at New York Hospital, where Mrs. Ayyappan was transferred, would disclose the extent of the damage caused.
Sloan-Kettering spokeswoman Christine Westerman would not say how long the surgery lasted before the mistake was realized.
Mrs. Ayyappan had been brought from India to Sloan-Kettering for an operation to remove a brain tumor. But the surgeon brought another patient's diagnostic films into the operating room, then opened the woman's head and began searching her healthy right temporal lobe for the tumor, the center said.
The temporal lobes control memory, emotion and some sensory functions.
The doctor's surgical privileges were suspended and he was stripped of his administrative post, Westerman said.
``We have acknowledged that a mistake was made, and we have extended a heartfelt apology to the patient's family,'' said Dr. Joseph Simone, Sloan-Kettering's physician-in-chief.
While Westerman refused to provide the doctor's name, New York Newsday said other physicians identified him as Dr. Ehud Arbit. Calls to his office for comment were transferred to the public affairs office at Sloan-Kettering.
A partial removal of the malignant tumor was performed at New York Hospital, where Mrs. Ayyappan remains for follow-up care, including radiation therapy, said hospital spokeswoman Myrna Manners.
The family, including Sridevi, was staying round the clock at Mrs. Ayyappan's bedside, Manners said. Through Manners, they declined to talk about the case.
Sridevi is one of India's most popular film stars, and the top performer in the Tamil-language movie business in southern India. Her mother's case is front-page news in their native land.
The mistake is under investigation by Sloan-Kettering and the state Health Department.