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Surgery Leaves Man With Wrong Foot in Mistaken Amputation

February 25, 1995

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) _ A man who went into surgery to have his right foot amputated awoke to learn the wrong foot was gone.

The patient, in his 50s, was told of the blunder while he was in the recovery room at University Community Hospital on Monday.

The man’s leg was severed midway between ankle and knee, hospital spokesman John Andreas said.

He did not know if the surgery team made an attempt to reattach the limb, and said patient confidentiality concerns and the man’s wishes prevented him from naming those involved and providing other details.

The hospital was investigating the mistake.

Surgeon Emilio Echevarria, a member of the state Board of Medicine, said doctors commonly circle a kneecap with a marker or tie a ribbon on the correct limb.

Often they ask patients which side of the body, or which limb, is to be operated on before administering anesthesia.

``Sometimes the patient laughs at you _ `Are you kidding me, doctor? You don’t know what side it is on?‴ Echevarria said. ``You can’t be too careful.″

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