Thankfully, wrong site surgery is a relatively rare event in hospitals and medical facilities. A report in Archives of Surgery, backs up this statement as well. In fact, the article went on to prove in a study that 25 non-spine wrong-site operations were completed amongst over 2,825,000 operations in insured institutions. These figures resulted then in a 1 in 112,994 operation incidence level.
“Wrong-site surgery is rare but shocking to the public,” stated the researchers in this study. “At the rate detected in this study, a wrong-site surgery serious enough to result in a report to risk managers or a lawsuit would occur at a single large hospital about once every five to 10 years.” Additionally, according to statistics, in the states of Pennsylvania and Florida, a wrong site surgery is performed every five days.
Wrong-site surgery, itself, includes any procedures that are completed on the wrong limb, organ, or vertebrae. Wrong site surgery could cause the patient serious harm that can include debilitating lifelong injuries or even death can result. Moreover, patients that were unfortunate to receive wrong site surgery can suffer both financially and emotionally.
Why does wrong site surgery occur?
Joint Commission reviewers have identified several factors that may contribute to an increased risk of wrong-site surgery. These risk factors include:
- There is more than one surgeon assigned to a particular individual.
- There are rare time pressures such as the fact that there is pressure to rush preoperative procedures;
- There is a failure to properly read a patient’s medical chart
- The patient is obese or suffers from some other physical challenge. This situation might alter the custom process for proper positioning of the patient or equipment set-up.
- There are ways that wrong site surgery can be reduced. In fact, the Joint Commission offers the following methods to reduce the incidence of wrong-site surgery:
- All surgeons and associated personnel should orally verify the location of the correct surgery site on the patient on the operating room.
- Create a verification checklist – this checklist should include X-rays, medical records, informed consent papers, records from the operating room, the anesthesia record and direct observation of the marked operative site on the patient.
Therefore, if you as a patient have had a procedure performed on you on the wrong site, you are the victim of a surgery mistake and you have the right to seek compensation for your damages. Some of these damages will cover pain and suffering, lost income, medical expenses and more.
At Rasansky Law Firm, we are Dallas surgeon malpractice lawyers with extensive experience in dealing with medical malpractice cases and will assess your case for free.