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Davenport doctor fined after performing surgery on wrong ankle

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A Davenport orthopedic surgeon was fined $2,500 by the state after he admitted to performing surgery on the wrong ankle of a patient.

Tuvi Mendel, M.D., 49, agreed to the fine as part of an August 8, 2014  settlement agreement with the Iowa Medical Board.

Mendel “inadvertently performed surgery on a patient’s left ankle when the patient was scheduled to undergo surgery on the right ankle,” according to a statement from the board.  The procedure happened in November 2013.

Mendel recognized his error after the procedure was completed, and he immediately told the patient and her family, the statement said.  The patient chose to undergo surgery on the right ankle as well.

Mendel was issued a citation and warning, ordered to pay a $2,500 civil penalty and he submitted a written plan to the state, outlining steps he had taken to avoid such errors in the future.  By law, the disciplinary action is also reported a the National Practitioner Data Bank.

“Dr. Tuvi Mendel is the head of Orthopaedic Specialist’s Foot and Ankle Center, and is known as one of the leading foot and ankle surgeons in the Quad Cities,” according to the Orthopaedic Specialist’s website.




  • Amy

    The surgeon is supposed to visit the patient in pre-op and draw on the patient where the surgery is supposed to be – while the patient is awake and aware (unless it’s emergency surgery and the patient is unconscious). Whether it’s a breast, a kidney, an arm, or ankle, there’s no reason why this ever happened.

  • Elliott Lanosa

    What an idiot. He really blew it and shouldn’t be allowed to do surgery unless he goes back to school and gets proper training. 2500.00 That isn’t even a slap on the wrist. I would have sued this idiot into his next life.

  • abes

    A few years ago, I had tuvi mendel, operate on my tendon. What a start to a never ending nightmare. I was relatively young and in good shape. He never diagnosed a post op staph infection, despite my pleading with him, despite my great symptoms for almost 6 horrible months. He repeatedly told me he didn’t know what it was, but it was not an infection. Iowa City instantly diagnosed the staph infection and painfully operated on it twice. The growing staph did great damage. More painful surgeries followed. Also post Mendel’s initial surgery, I asked him why my foot NOW turns outward. He told me, he didn’t know why, but I would have to learn to walk that way. This outward, pronated way of walking now, I feel, has exacerbated my continuous pain. My foot is now full of painful arthritis. I continue to suffer daily. Let me repeat that word….DAILY. Continuously. My abilities have been severely limited. Insofar as the above statement, saying Correction actions to avoid such errors…. I feel those corrective actions should have or were, years ago, put into place.After the pain, suffering, and grief I went and continue to go through, my spouse coined a phrase that I was MENDELIZED. Why can mendel presumably skate by? Why does mendel still have a license? Where is mendel’s schooling? Why are there victims and mendel can continue? Why such a small, apparent punitive charge, for the pain and suffering that seemingly was created for what should be standard practice to absolutely, 100 percent know exactly which area will be operated on?

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