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Wrong bone removed by resident during surgery; Alberta doctor takes responsibility

FILE - In this Tuesday, June 28, 2016 file photo, a doctor prepares for a surgical procedure at a hospital in Washington.
FILE - In this Tuesday, June 28, 2016 file photo, a doctor prepares for a surgical procedure at a hospital in Washington. (AP Photo/Molly Riley)

A Calgary plastic surgeon has taken responsibility for failing to properly supervise his surgical resident, who removed the wrong wrist bone from a patient.

College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta (CPSA) documents show that on Dec. 13, 2017, the third-year surgical resident removed the scaphoid instead of the trapezium.

“Dr. Lin sat on the opposite side of the table from where he would normally sit if performing the procedure himself,” the hearing decision stated. “His response stated that the procedure was a bit more technically challenging than normal, but not so much that he was concerned about possible errors.

“Dr. Lin said that he directly supervised the entire procedure from beginning to end and he accepted full responsibility for the procedure and the outcome. He documented the error in the operative report.”

In a Wednesday news release, the CPSA said Dr. Alan N Lin “took immediate responsibility for this situation and advised the patient of the error at the conclusion of surgery.”

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The college said Lin cooperated with its investigation and admitted to unprofessional conduct.

“As the physician responsible for the resident, Dr. Lin took steps to ensure this error is not repeated in the future,” CPSA said.

The hearing tribunal ruled that Lin would receive a caution and would have to pay 75 per cent of the hearing costs, totalling over $16,000.

Global News has reached out to Dr. Lin’s office for comment. This article will be updated if one is received.