Surgeon Errs, Operates on Healthy Part of Woman’s Brain for Tumor

From Associated Press

Rajeswari Ayyappan traveled halfway around the world from India to have a malignant brain tumor removed at a renowned cancer center.

Something went wrong.

The neurosurgeon mistakenly operated on the healthy part of her brain after reviewing pictures of another person’s skull, hospital officials said.

The 59-year-old mother of Indian film star Sridevi was in another hospital Friday, in stable condition after a second operation that removed part of the tumor.


No one at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, where the foul-up occurred, or at New York Hospital, where Ayyappan was transferred Thursday, would disclose the extent of the damage caused.

“We have acknowledged that a mistake was made, and we have extended a heartfelt apology to the patient’s family,” Dr. Joseph Simone, Sloan-Kettering’s physician-in-chief, said Thursday.

Sloan-Kettering spokeswoman Christine Westerman said the hospital was investigating how long the surgery continued before the error was discovered.

The doctor’s surgical privileges were suspended and he was stripped of his administrative role at Sloan-Kettering, Westerman said.

Westerman refused to provide the doctor’s name. However, New York Newsday said other doctors identified him as Dr. Ehud Arbit. Calls to Arbit’s Manhattan office for comment were transferred to the public affairs office at Sloan-Kettering.