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Orlando Wrong-Patient Surgery Lawyers

Surgical "Never Events": Wrong Patient Surgery

When you sign surgical consent paperwork, you are essentially placing your life in the hands of your surgeon, as well as the rest of the team that will be caring for you during your operation. But, is this blind faith in the medical profession justified? According to safety researchers at Johns Hopkins University, each year, more than 4,000 preventable mistakes occur during surgeries in the United States.

These errors belong to a category of medical mistakes known as "never events," which are so named because healthcare professionals agree that they are events that should never happen to a patient. Yet, in 2012, after analyzing the occurrence of such events over a ten-year period, Johns Hopkins safety researchers reported that, on average, American surgeons perform the wrong procedure on patients 20 times per week and operate on the wrong body site another 20 times per week.

How can such egregious errors occur on such a regular basis?

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surgeons performing procedure

Causes of Wrong Patient Surgery and the Universal Protocol

According to an in-depth study conducted by the Joint Commission for Transforming Healthcare, many of these never events occurred because of defects in the processes in place in medical facilities. These defects included booking errors, verification errors, distractions, rushing, and time-out errors.

As a result of these determinations, the Commission created a detailed protocol (known as the "Universal Protocol") for surgical teams and hospitals to follow in an effort to eliminate errors going into surgery. This protocol contains a comprehensive list of steps to be followed by the surgical team that help to ensure its members verify important details preoperatively.

The final step in the Universal Protocol consists of a "Time Out," which is performed in the operating room immediately before any procedure begins. This process is for the entire surgical team, and is designed as a final check to confirm such matters as:

  • Patient identity
  • Correct surgical site
  • Correct procedure
  • Correct patient positioning
  • Need for preoperative antibiotics
  • Presence of allergies
  • Availability of documentation and diagnostic tests, instruments, and any other necessary equipment

A surgical team’s failure to comply or accurately complete this required time-out checklist is a violation of most facilities’ internal policies and procedures.

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When You Become a Victim of Wrong Patient Surgery

Waking up to discover that you have become a victim of wrong-patient surgery can be traumatic and even life-threatening. It can also be difficult to think clearly and to process the information that you are provided, as you have recently been under anesthesia. In this time of confusion and emotional stress, it’s critical to speak to a loved one who can help you to understand what has occurred. In addition, you or your loved one may choose to seek the assistance of an experienced Orlando surgical error attorney.

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Why You Need Legal Representation

According to an independent survey conducted by the University of Iowa, while the vast majority of responding physicians claimed that they would report the fact that they had committed a medical error where it caused a patient minor or even major harm, only 41% reported that they had actually reported even minor medical errors that they had committed, and 4% openly admitted to failing to report a major medical error.

If you want justice in court, you are required to prove that your healthcare provider(s) have behaved negligently and that this negligence caused you harm. But, all too often, once you begin asking questions, the medical staff become reluctant to speak to you about what has occurred. They may even refuse to discuss the matter and direct you to speak to administrative staff or an insurance company.

The legal team at Faiella & Gulden, P.A., has nearly 40 years of experience in the complex and life-altering specialty of Florida medical malpractice lawsuits, and can provide you with a free evaluation of your situation. If we take your case, all services are provided on a contingency basis, including any expenses of the case, such as court costs or consultations with medical experts. Call today at (407) 647-6111 to take that first step in your healing process.

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Additional Information

We require no legal retainer or upfront fees, and you pay nothing unless we prevail. Call us for your free consultation.
(407) 647-6111