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 (713) 932-0777 for a free case evaluation with an experienced medical malpractice attorney today.
Causes of Wrong-Side Surgery
Before 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 verification 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.
Attorneys for Wrong-Site Surgery
If you or someone you love was seriously injured due to the negligence of wrong-site surgery, call (713) 932-0777 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.