Scott Baker, Surgeon Who Removed Patient’s Healthy Kidney, Denies Breaching Standard Of Care

Christopher Furlong Getty Images

South Dakota surgeon Scott Baker has admitted that he mistakenly removed a woman’s healthy kidney during a surgery in Sioux Falls in October, 2016. The doctor, however, denied that he breached the standard of care.

According to the Argus Leader, Dena Knapp was supposed to have an adrenal gland and a mass on the gland surgically removed on Oct. 5, 2016, but she claimed that Baker removed her healthy right kidney instead.

Knapp claimed that she was not informed about the mix-up until she was released from the hospital.

In a lawsuit she filed in August, she alleges that Baker had known on the day of the operation that he had not removed the adrenal gland, since he was notified by the pathology department of Avera McKennan Hospital.

Baker allegedly told her on Oct. 7 that he had not heard from pathology. On Oct. 11, Baker called her and informed her that part of the gland was still inside her, and that he did not get everything. Baker then advised her to undergo a second surgery.

Knapp did have another surgery, but this time, she went to Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. to have the adrenal gland and mass removed. She developed a stage-three kidney disease after the operations.

In her lawsuit, Knapp said that Baker committed professional negligence. Her complaint said that the erroneous surgery resulted in an incurable and progressive disease in her remaining kidney. She also said that she suffered from pain, depression, fatigue, and mental distress.

Featured image credit: Christopher Furlong Getty Images

She likewise claimed to have incurred expenses in excess of $96,000, and lost $42,000 worth of earnings. She also said that she was unable to perform many functions, and had to rely on replacement services to clean and maintain her home.

In response, Baker and The Surgical Institute of South Dakota admitted that the doctor indeed removed the Iowa woman’s right kidney instead of an adrenal gland, and the associated mass, but denied some of the allegations.

The doctor and The Surgical Institute said that they did not breach the standard of care by removing the woman’s kidney, failing to remove her adrenal gland, and failing to admit the mistake. They also denied that the patient suffered damages. Baker also said that Knapp was provided with the information on the day of the surgery.

“Knapp’s medical records also indicated “a very superiorly located right adrenal gland,” which was near the large lobe of her liver, according to the defendant’s answer,” the Associated Press reported.