Thursday, February 29, 2024

Four years after Whiteville doctor operated on wrong knee, medical board issues ‘letter of concern’

A Whiteville doctor operated on the wrong knee, which eventually led to a state investigation that concluded four years later. (Port City Daily photo / File)

COLUMBUS COUNTY — The state’s medical board has issued a public letter of concern stemming from a 2016 incident where a surgical team prepped and operated on the wrong knee at a Columbus County medical practice.

In a letter issued on Tuesday, August 25, the North Carolina Medical Board (NCMB) notified Dr. Andrew Marvin Schuett of Columbus County Orthopaedics that it had concluded its investigation into a March 2016 incident where Schuett and his team prepped the wrong knee for arthroscopic surgery and then operated on it.

The board wrote the letter to express ‘concern’ about the medical care provided to an individual referred to as ‘Patient A,’ although it did not commence formal proceedings against Schuett’s medical license. The letter is not considered a disciplinary action; however, it is a public record that the state reports to the Federation of State Medical Boards.

According to NCMB, Schuett intended to perform “left-sided” surgery of Patient A and, prior to the operation, “identified and marked Patient A’s left knee for surgical procedure.”

However, “despite this, Patient A’s right knee was prepped and sterilely draped by hospital nursing staff for the surgical procedure.”

According to NCMB, Schuett then proceeded with the operation. During the surgery, Schuett realized he was “operating on the wrong knee” and promptly informed the patient. NCMB notes that the “misidentification and prepping of the wrong knee was not an error by you but by another member of the operative team” but informed Schuett that he “as the surgeon have taken responsibility for your role in the procedure.”

According to NCMB, on Monday, August 24, Schuett consented to the ‘letter of concern’ in order to resolve the matter “without the need for more formal proceedings.”

You can find NCMB’s letter of concern here.

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