World

Hospital throws amputee's leg away in the trash

A month after Mr John Timiriasieff had his leg amputated at the hospital, police officers showed up at his door step asking about the leg.

They had found it - with Mr Timiriasieff's name tag still attached to it - at a rubbish dump.

Florida police initially suspected foul play, but their discovery prompted Mr Timiriasieff to sue the hospital for emotional distress over the incident.

In October last year, the 56-year-old had his right leg amputated below the knee at the Doctors Hospital in Florida.

"Rather than properly disposing of the plaintiff's limb as expected and as required by Florida law, Doctors Hospital threw the Plaintiff's amputated limb into the garbage, with tags indicating it belonged to the Plaintiff," according to the lawsuit filed in court.

After homicide detectives turned up at his home, Mr Timiriasieff's family went back to the hospital to find out what happened, but they were told it would "provide no explanation for what had occurred," the lawsuit said.

The hospital said it could not discuss the incident in detail because of patient privacy considerations.

"However, we can say when Doctors Hospital was notified of this situation, hospital leaders took immediate and appropriate measures to address it," it added in an e-mailed statement. "Proper procedures have been reinforced at the hospital to prevent similar situations from happening in the future."

Normally, amputated limbs are incinerated by hospitals, said Mr Clay Roberts, a lawyer for Mr Timiriasieff.

Mr Roberts said he wrote to the hospital in January but got no response.

In the lawsuit, Mr Timiriasieff described the hospital's conduct as "outrageous and beyond the bounds of human decency as to be regarded as odious and utterly intolerable in a civilised community."

The leg was discovered at a waste management facility and reported to the police.

Mr Roberts said his client is upset by the hospital's unwillingness to accept responsibility for the severe emotional distress he endured as a result of its negligence, and failing to protect his private medical information.

"I have heard of people having the wrong limb removed but hospitals aren't supposed to throw them away," he said.

Source: Reuters, Mirror, The Miami Herald

amputateUncategorisedWasteunited states