Many people associate medical malpractice with incorrect or delayed diagnosis, but there are other aspects to consider. One common source of medical malpractice claims is surgical errors, including wrong-site surgery.
Understand the basics of wrong-site surgery to help identify negligence and malpractice.
What is wrong-site surgery?
Wrong-site surgery refers to surgical procedures completed on the wrong part of the body, or the incorrect procedure performed on a patient. For example, amputation of the wrong limb or removal of an incorrect organ qualifies as wrong-site surgical procedures.
How does wrong-site surgery happen?
Most patients experience no complications or mistakes in surgery, but surgeon inattention, confusion of medical records and fatigue can contribute to wrong-site surgery. Identifying the cause of the incident starts with reviewing hospital records and the medical records associated with the surgery.
What steps can reduce the risk of wrong-site surgery?
There are steps that most medical professionals take to reduce surgical errors. Before surgery, you might go through pre-op testing and consultation. During that time, your physician or surgeon might mark the area in question with a marker or pen. Sometimes they illustrate incision areas during the process.
Before you receive anesthesia, the surgeon may ask for your name and birthdate to confirm that they have the proper medical record. Your surgeon might even reference the procedure and ask for confirmation from you. These steps are simply precautions for the record to reduce the risk.
When you experience a wrong-site surgery, you should seek compensation. Many incidents lead to further complications due to unnecessary surgical intrusion, so consider your long-term prognosis and costs as you file a claim.