updated 10/25/2009 1:56:38 PM ET 2009-10-25T17:56:38

Health officials are investigating how a surgeon at Rhode Island Hospital mistakenly operated on the wrong part of a patient's hand, the hospital's fifth wrong-site surgery since 2007. Hospital President Timothy Babineau said in a letter that the mistake Thursday happened on a patient scheduled for surgery on two fingers. A joint on one finger underwent a procedure meant for another.

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Babineau said the surgery was then performed on the correct finger and the patient was discharged.

The hospital has not released the names of the patient or surgeon involved.

Hospital officials are investigating what went wrong, as is the state Department of Health.

Rhode Island Hospital was fined $50,000 after brain surgeons operated on the wrong side of patients' heads in three separate cases in 2007.

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