Orlando Wrong-Site Surgery Lawyers
Of all the forms of surgical malpractice that can occur, few are as troubling and potentially destructive as wrong-site surgery. These surgical errors are considered "never events" because they are so grossly negligent that they should never happen. In general, there are three ways in which wrong-site surgery can occur:
- Wrong site: This is the most common form of this mistake and occurs when a surgical procedure is performed on the wrong part of a person's body. For example, surgeons might remove a lump on the patient’s left breast when they intended to remove a lump on the right breast, or might amputate the wrong finger on a person's hand.
- Wrong procedure: When this surgical error occurs, the correct area of the patient’s body is operated on, but the wrong thing is done to it. Sometimes the wrong procedure is performed on a patient due to an error in diagnosis or paperwork. For example, a surgeon might amputate a patient’s limb instead of performing corrective surgery on it.
- Wrong person: This error occurs when a procedure is performed on the wrong person. For example, a surgeon might remove an appendix from a patient who is in the hospital for a head injury. These mistakes can be catastrophic for both patients: the one who received unnecessary surgery and the one who did not receive treatment at all.
Wrong-site surgery is most often the result of poor communication. If medical staff does not update and keep a patient’s medical records in order, or complete the right paperwork for the surgery, or confirm what procedure needs to be performed beforehand, these errors can happen. Noncompliance with standard hospital procedures can also cause these mistakes, especially when a surgeon is rushing to perform an operation and skips the necessary safety precautions. Errors in leadership can also cause surgical mistakes, particularly at teaching hospitals and similar locations.
Some common consequences of surgical errors include:
- Unnecessary amputation
- Delay in proper treatment
- Illness due to organ loss
- Undue medical expenses
- Need for additional surgery
- Excessive trauma to the body
The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations of the USA has established three procedures to help prevent wrong-site surgery. When these steps are ignored, surgical errors can occur. These three steps are:
- Preoperative verification process: This establishes the identity of a patient, ensures paperwork is correct, and requires a meeting between the surgeon and patient.
- Marking the operative site: This is done by the operating surgeon and in a way that will still be visible once the procedure starts. It should be done while a patient is awake so that there is consensus between the patient and surgeon.
- "Time out" immediately before starting the procedure: This is a final verification to ensure the surgical team has the correct patient and operating site.
Medical providers who commit such wrong-site surgical errors should be held accountable for their negligence. If you or a loved one has been the victim of wrong-site surgery, you may be entitled to compensation for your unnecessary pain, expenses, and emotional trauma. Call an Orlando medical malpractice attorney at Faiella & Gulden, P.A., at (407) 647-6111 for a free consultation about your legal options.
- Wrong-Site, Wrong-Procedure, and Wrong-Patient Surgery
- Wrong-Site Surgery: A Preventable Medical Error
- Wrong Site Surgery
- The Joint Commission
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