The patient, a 76-year-old male, was on dialysis with two failed and diseased kidneys when the wrong one was removed, said Sinai spokeswoman Dorie Klissas. Doctors subsequently removed the second failed kidney and the patient is doing well, she said.
"This event should never have occurred at Mount Sinai," said Klissas. "We apologized to the patient, and we will do all we can to ensure that something like this never happens again."
Klissas, who said hospital officials had consulted with the patient Thursday, would not say when the incident occurred. She also would not name the surgeon, citing hospital policy not to comment on personnel issues.
The patient, she said, told hospital officials the surgeon helped him overcome bladder cancer and that despite the error he had "enormous faith in the doctor."
Wrong side surgeries do occur at hospitals throughout the country - and many facilities take efforts to "mistake proof" operating rooms. In July 2008, a surgeon at a Minneapolis hospital who removed the wrong kidney from a cancer patient said he was distracted by beeper calls and other patients when he made a mistake on the patient's chart, a state investigation there found.
The 12-story hospital, which has nearly 1,200 beds, occupies four square blocks on the city's Upper East Side and was founded in downtown Manhattan in 1852.