Toronto man alleges mass removed during biopsy at hospital goes missing

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Toronto man alleges missing mass after surgery at downtown hospital
WATCH ABOVE: A Toronto man says he’s been left with more questions than answers after an operation on his hand in early September. Shallima Maharaj has the story – Sep 22, 2020

Justin Peterson has found himself mired in confusion, borne of a bizarre situation.

The Toronto man contacted Global News about an operation he said he recently underwent at a downtown hospital.

On Sept. 4, he said he went to Toronto Western Hospital for a procedure to remove a mass that had formed on one of his fingers. Peterson said the intention was to have it biopsied, but he claimed that never happened.

“My whole point of it was to get the biopsy done because I was really concerned and worried like anybody would be when they have a lump growing on them,” he explained.

“You always think the worst, right? So I was hoping by me going in I would get that peace of mind and I would be able to move forward with whatever it was.”

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Peterson, who operates a camera for a living and plays guitar, described being sedated, but awake during his procedure.

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“I remember them coming afterward and checking my gown and even the bottom of my feet,” he said.

“I briefly remembered them saying they had misplaced the mass and they were looking for it.”

On Monday, he said he was finally informed by a doctor during a post-operative follow-up that the mass was indeed missing.

Global News reached out to the University Health Network (UHN), which Toronto Western Hospital is a part of.

An email from a UHN spokesperson stated that officials could not comment on any individual’s care due to “the laws governing privacy.”

“Our patient relations area has the authority to open an investigation, look at an individual’s records and work with an individual around the results of an investigation and the recommendations which come from the investigation,” the statement said.

Peterson said he had not been made aware of that option until it was brought to his attention by Global News. He now intends to follow up with them.

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Emergency room physician, Dr. Brett Belchetz, who was not involved in the alleged incident, was asked about the rarity of it.

“We have lots of redundancy in our system to make sure that we are not misplacing tissue samples,” he explained.

“This is something that should not happen, and in my career this is something that I have not seen.”

In the meantime, Peterson said he will continue to monitor the area where the mass originally formed.

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