Surgeon Who Amputated Patient's Wrong Leg Is Fined €2,700

When asked in court why the tragic mistake had happened, the surgeon said, "I just don't know."
Simon Childs
London, GB
​Photo: Getty stock image
Photo: Getty stock image

A surgeon in Austria who amputated the wrong leg of a patient has been handed a €2,700 (£2,296) fine.

The 43-year-old surgeon was found guilty of gross negligence by a court in Linz in the northwest of the country on Wednesday. Half of her fine has been suspended.

The 82-year-old patient, who was told that he would have to have the other leg amputated as well.

The patient died before the case came to court. His widow was awarded €5,000 (about £4,250) in damages.

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He attended the surgery in Freistadt near the Czech border in May to have his leg amputated but the surgeon marked the wrong one.

When asked in court why she had marked the wrong leg, the surgeon said, “I just don’t know”.

She said there had been a breakdown in the chain of command at the surgery.

When the incident happened in May, the clinic said that the mistake was first noticed during a bandage change.

At a news conference in May, Norbert Fritsch, the clinic’s medical director, said, “We have to find out how this failure, this mistake could happen. I would like to apologise publicly here.”

The surgeon has moved to another clinic since the incident.