A cancer patient's surgery to remove cancerous parts of his colon turned to more misery after surgeons at a Sydney hospital removed the wrong part of his bowel.

The male patient was undergoing colorectal surgery at Northern Beaches Hospital when they removed part of his colon, however, it has now been found a private-contracted laboratory botched his pathology results before surgery.

The Sydney Morning Herald reported the mistake was an error in the pathology report supplied by external company Australian Clinical Labs.

The patient has since returned to hospital for corrective surgery.


A spokesman for the hospital's private operator Healthscope said the patient and his family had been provided with full disclosure and the hospital was providing ongoing care during his stay.

In a statement, a Healthscope spokesman said: "The incident was immediately notified to NSW Health and the cause of the error is under investigation."

The incident has been reported to the Ministry of Health.

"Wrong-site surgery" is one of the most serious and preventable medical errors and any wrong-site surgeries must be reported to the highest levels of the health system.

In 2017 a US man sued a hospital after doctors removed the wrong testicle during surgery.

In 2016 it was reported wrong-site surgeries performed in the UK had sky-rocketed with 135 incidents recorded in 2015/2016, up from just 54 in 2012/2013.