In medical facilities, negligence can come in many forms from medication errors and anesthesia errors to triage errors and failure to diagnose. Numerous instances of malpractice, however, can be traced back to surgical errors in all stages of the procedure. One devastating example of a surgical error, however, is wrong site or wrong patient surgery.
It is not uncommon for communication mishaps and preparation errors to lead to wrong site or wrong patient events. Examples of wrong site/wrong patient surgical errors can include a patient who had the wrong leg amputated, a patient who received a procedure on the wrong level of the spine or a woman who received a hysterectomy due to having a similar-sounding name to another patient.
What can be done to prevent these errors?
Most facilities have adopted certain protocols designed to reduce or eliminate the instances of wrong site/wrong patient surgeries:
- Involving the patient in the preprocedure verification process: Before the patient is under, it is wise to discuss with him or her the procedure itself. Doing this can help to verify identity and other surgical details.
- Taking part in a preprocedure time out: The entire surgical staff should take a moment before the surgery as a final verification of the patient’s identity, the correct surgical site, the correct side of the body and the correct procedure.
- Marking the procedure site with an implement that will withstand body preparation: Marking the site of the incision, for example, or marking which limb is to be amputated can help prevent confusion during the actual surgical procedure.
This type of medical negligence can have long-lasting, life-altering consequences. A surgical staff who performs the wrong procedure, operates on the wrong side of the body or operates on the wrong patient needs to be held accountable for their malpractice. Do not hesitate to discuss your case with an experienced legal professional for guidance.