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Doctors In Peru Amputate Wrong Foot Of Patient

01/25/10 04:13 PM ET   AP

LIMA, Peru — Doctors in Peru mistakenly amputated the wrong foot of an 86-year-old man, then had no choice but to cut off the other one as well to keep an infection from spreading, relatives and officials said Monday.

"It was a terrible shock when I lifted up the sheets and saw they had amputated his left foot," the patient's daughter, Carmen Villanueva, told RPP radio.

She said doctors in the port city of Callao had been attending to an ulcer on Jorge Villanueva's right foot since Jan. 4.

When the infection worsened on Saturday, they ordered the ill-fated emergency surgery. Realizing their mistake, doctors performed a second operation the following day that left Villanueva footless.

The Sabogal Hospital said in a statement that it suspended the doctors involved while it investigates.

Health Minister Oscar Ugarte confirmed the mistaken amputation, saying: "Without a doubt this should be punishable. ... It is a sad situation, and we have asked for an investigation."

Carmen Villanueva said her family plans to sue.

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Filed by T.J. Ortenzi  |