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Austrian surgeon who amputated the WRONG leg of a patient is fined £2,300

Austrian surgeon who amputated the WRONG leg of a patient is fined £2,300

  • The 43-year-old defendant said that her actions were due to ‘human error’
  • The surgeon had marked the wrong leg of the 82-year-old patient for amputation
  • The court awarded €5,000 in damages plus interest to the widow of the patient


An Austrian court has fined a surgeon for amputating the wrong leg of an elderly patient, a spokesperson for the tribunal in the northern city of Linz said on Wednesday.

While the 43-year-old defendant said her actions were due to ‘human error’, the judge found her guilty of gross negligence and fined her €2,700 ($3,060), with half the amount suspended.

The surgeon had marked the wrong leg of the 82-year-old patient for amputation ahead of the operation in May in the central town of Freistadt, only noticing the mistake two days after carrying out the surgery.

The surgeon had marked the wrong leg of the 82-year-old patient for amputation ahead of the operation in May in the central town of Freistadt (pictured), only noticing the mistake two days after carrying out the surgery

The court awarded 5,000 euros in damages plus interest to the widow of the patient, who died before the case came to court.

The surgeon said there had been a flaw in the chain of control in the operating theatre. 

She has since moved to another clinic and can appeal the judgement.

While the 43-year-old defendant said her actions were due to 'human error', the judge found her guilty of gross negligence and fined her 2,700 euros ($3,060), with half the amount suspended (file picture)

While the 43-year-old defendant said her actions were due to ‘human error’, the judge found her guilty of gross negligence and fined her 2,700 euros ($3,060), with half the amount suspended (file picture)

The management of the institution involved said in a statement that ‘the causes and circumstances of this medical error have been analysed in detail’, internal procedures discussed with the team and training provided.

It comes after an Austrian hospital admitted to amputating the wrong leg of one of its elderly patients during what should have been a routine procedure earlier this year.

The Freistadt Clinic, in a small town of the same name near the Czech border, said it was ‘deeply shocked’ and described the incident as a ‘tragic mistake’.

The elderly patient, 82, required surgery to remove his left leg owing to previous illnesses, but surgeons marked up the wrong limb before heading into the operating theatre.

But it was two days later, during a routine bandage change, when horrified nurses found the hospital had made a serious error during the operation. 

The Freistadt Clinic (above) in north Austria admitted to amputating the wrong leg of one of its elderly patients earlier this week

The Freistadt Clinic (above) in north Austria admitted to amputating the wrong leg of one of its elderly patients earlier this week

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