A Manitoba man who went for surgery on his Achilles tendon woke up in hospital to find doctors cut into the wrong leg.

Rick Campbell went into Seven Oaks hospital in Winnipeg for a two-hour surgery on his left leg after he’d torn his tendon. After a five-hour operation, he was told they’d accidentally opened the right leg first.

It happened in March 2011, but Campbell said he felt compelled to speak out now after hearing about Heather Brenan’s incident with the same hospital.

Brenan, 68, was sent home from the hospital’s emergency ward in late January. But when she got home, she collapsed on her doorstep and died a short time later.

Rick Campbell’s legs after surgery. There are 19 staples in his right leg (the one that should not have been cut open) and 17 staples in his left leg. (Chris Glover/CBC)
An autopsy determined she died from blood clots in her legs. Her daughter, Dana, claims the hospital took Brenan off her blood thinners.

Campbell told CBC News that doctors at the hospital did the surgery again, on the correct leg, once they were told of their mistake.

But because of the mistake, he still has trouble walking, he said.

“It’s been a devastating situation and it’s brought me to tears,” Campbell said. “And there’s been several times I wish I didn’t wake up in the morning.

“I come in to have surgery on a leg that’s injured and I leave disabled. It’s indescribable.”

Campbell said he is still waiting for an apology from the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority.

However, a spokeswoman for the authority told CBC News that officials at Seven Oaks have apologized to Campbell several times, and changes have been made to help prevent a similar incident.

As for what happened to Brenan, the health authority has deemed it a critical incident and is being looked at by a regional team conducting a patient safety review.