Vietnam patient wins lifetime compensation after both kidneys removed by hospital

A hospital in southern Vietnam’s Can Tho City has been ruled to provide lifetime monetary support to a patient whose both kidneys it had removed in a rare surgical error.

The patient had reportedly suffered from a condition known as horseshoe kidney, where her kidneys were fused together into the shape of a horseshoe, making it easy to mistake the pair of organs for one.

The unfortunate patient, Hua Cam Tu, has taken the Can Tho General Hospital to court, blaming her loss of both kidneys due to a medical error on the hospital’s part and demanding compensation.

The lawsuit was filed in June 2013 but the trial was not held until four years later.

According to the lawsuit, Tu was admitted to the hospital late 2011 to treat her kidney condition, where she was diagnosed with third and fourth-level water retention in her left kidney.

Doctors had performed endoscopic surgery on Tu, but switched to open surgery during the process due to complications.

While Tu was later told that the surgery had been a success, her health continued to worsen after the operation.

Ultrasound results found that none of Tu’s kidneys was present in her body, suggesting that both of them had been accidentally removed in the surgery.

Tu then received an emergency kidney transplant at the Hue General Hospital using the kidney of a donor.

After the medical error, Tu received VND6 million (US$264) a month in compensation from the hospital during the first few months, but then the amount was halved before being completely cut off in May 2013.

Tu filed the lawsuit a month later, demanding that the hospital pay an immediate compensation of VND707 million ($31,000) as well as an additional VND7.6 million ($335) per month until her death.

The defendant refused the demand, only agreeing to pay VND50 million ($2,200) in support for Tu and her family.

Tu’s lawsuit was officially received by the court in October 2013, with court date set for April 19 the following year. However, the case was later postponed on the request of the local People’s Procuracy.

The case was only presided by a court in Ninh Kieu District on Thursday, with the jury ruling in Tu’s favor, requesting that the hospital pay VND302 million ($13,300) in immediate compensation to the patient.

An additional monthly monetary support of VND5.8million ($256) was to be provided until her death, the court ruled.

Nguyen Thien Tri, husband and legal representative of Hua Cam Tu, attends the trial at the People’s Court of Can Tho on June 29, 2017. Photo: Tuoi Tre

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