Medical Negligence Resulting in Wrong Side Surgeries

Operating on the wrong side of an individual’s body is a terrifying reality that unfortunately, some patients must deal with. According to the National Center for Biotechnical Information (NCBI), “Wrong side surgery is probably the most dramatic, visible and devastating of all surgical errors.” It can be the result of a number of causes; however, in most cases this degree of medical malpractice is highly preventable. Some examples of wrong side surgery, which is also referred to as wrong site surgery, are:

  • Operating on the wrong side of the body
  • Operating on the wrong location on the body
  • Using the incorrect procedure

If you or someone you love is undergoing serious complications as a result of wrong-side surgery, call 800-298-0111 for a free case evaluation with an experienced medical malpractice attorney today.

Causes of Wrong Side Surgery

surgical incision on forearmBefore a patient undergoes surgery, there is some sort of preoperative protocol that the medical providers treating the patient must follow. These protocols, while different depending on the medical provider and place of treatment, are usually extensive and required many verification’s along the way. It is rare that a wrong side surgery is not due to the negligence of a medical provider; however, the specific cause of wrong-site surgery may be due to one of the following:

  • Misinterpretation of x-ray or patient charts
  • Mislabeling of body parts during preoperative care
  • Misunderstanding of patient’s symptoms and illness
  • Doctor inattentiveness

According to a report published by the NCBI, “the Joint Commission found the top root causes of [wrong side surgery] to be communication failure (70 percent), procedural noncompliance (64 percent), and leadership (46 percent).”

Wrong Site Surgery Can Have Devastating Effects

It does not take years of medical experience to understand the gravity of a medical professional operating on the wrong side of a patient’s body. Whether it is removing healthy tissue instead of cancerous tissue, or opening the wrong side of a patient’s skull, the devastating effects of wrong side surgery can be painful and exhausting. While it is a rare occurrence, when wrong-site surgeries do occur, consulting an experienced medical malpractice attorney can help ensure you are fully protected.

Preventing Wrong Site Surgery

The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS) and the North American Spine Society (NASS), are two organizations that pioneered the efforts of awareness and prevention when it comes to wrong site surgeries. While these efforts focused primarily on making physical markings on patients before surgery, over the years the advances in medicine and technology have complicated these solutions.

In 2003, the Joint Commission released the Universal Protocol for Preventing Wrong Site, Wrong Procedure, and Wrong Person Surgery. The universal protocol provides updated educational and preventative materials for medical providers to help ensure they are always keeping their patients safe.

Medical Malpractice Attorneys for Wrong Site Surgery

If you or someone you love was seriously injured due to the negligence of a wrong site surgery, call 800-298-0111 today. We provide free case evaluations for medical malpractice claims, and if we cannot represent you, we will help you find an attorney who can. At Simmons and Fletcher, P.C., we believe no one injured due to the negligence of another party should deal with it alone. Contact us today to learn more about your rights.

Author

Paul Cannon

Paul Cannon has practiced personal injury trial law since 1995. He is Board Certified in Personal Injury Trial Law (2005). He has earned recognition as a Super Lawyer by Thompson Reuters in 2017 & 2018, and as a Top 100 Trial Lawyer by the National Trial Lawyers Association in 2017. He is a Shareholder, trial lawyer and online marketing manager at Simmons and Fletcher, P.C. His legal writings have been published by the Texas Bar Journal, Business.com, Lawyer.com HG Legal Resources, Lawfirms.com, and others. He has been asked to give education talks and media interviews on dog bite law.