Wrong-Site Surgeries

Trusted Columbus Medical Malpractice Lawyers - (614) 321-3212

There are a number of protections in place to prevent surgery from occurring on the wrong site, but these surgeries still can occur. Commonly, wrong-site surgeries involve operating on the wrong side of the body. Wrong-site surgeries not only cause the patient to undergo the trauma and recovery of an unnecessary surgery, but also to require additional surgery on the correct site. Operating on the wrong site can cause lasting harm or even be fatal.

If your surgeon operated on the wrong site, our Columbus medical malpractice attorneys may be able to help. Contact our offices at Rourke & Blumenthal today to learn about your legal options.

Common Wrong-site Surgeries

Wrong-site surgeries can occur when patient records are mixed up, but they also may happen when the wrong side of the body is operated on. The most common wrong-site surgeries involve:

  • Amputating the wrong limb or finger
  • Surgery on the wrong patient
  • Surgery on the wrong vertebrae
  • Surgery on the wrong side of the body
  • Removal of the wrong organ

Causes of Wrong-site Surgeries

There should be measures in place to prevent surgeries from occurring on the incorrect site, but these surgeries do still happen. There are a number of situations that can contribute to a wrong-site surgery, including:

  • Time constraints on the surgery team.
  • Unique patients.
  • Failure to follow or implement policies to prevent these surgeries.
  • Failure to properly assess a patient.
  • Improper planning prior to surgery.
  • Failure to properly read an x-ray, or reading it backwards.
  • Failure to properly mark the surgical site prior to the surgery.
  • Failure to obtain informed consent or patient miscommunications.
  • Failure to communicate with the patient and other involved medical personnel.
  • Multiple surgeons involved in the procedure.
  • Insufficient staff training.
  • Personal issues, such as over-confidence.
  • Pressure to perform high-volumes of surgeries without adequate rest or documentation.
  • Failure to use primary documentation to verify the site.
  • Emergency situations.

Many hospitals have implemented the 3-step “Universal Protocol” in an effort to ensure that every operation goes according to plan. The process requires the surgery site and incisions be marked appropriately, and that the surgical team reviews a checklist. The team should also take a time-out before beginning the surgery to double check that everything is correct and that the entire team agrees they are performing the correct procedure. Doing so can greatly reduce the instances of wrong-site surgeries, but often these protocols are neglected. Inadequate safety training and failure to enforce protocols can cause the surgical team to operate on the wrong site.

Surgeries at the wrong site can cause lasting and irreversible harm in most cases, and may even be fatal. These surgeries can also result in significant emotional trauma and pain, which can hinder the patient’s full recovery and their return to normal life.

Find the Help You Need - (614) 321-3212

Surgical procedures are stressful enough without the trauma of recovering from an unnecessary and harmful wrong-site surgery. At Rourke & Blumenthal, we understand the pain and stress you may be facing. Our team of award-winning Columbus medical malpractice attorneys are here to offer compassionate, effective legal representation for your case. With more than 75 years of collective legal service to our names, we are well-equipped to handle even the most complex medical malpractice claims. Don’t hesitate to get the help you need. We will fight tirelessly for the compensation you deserve.

Learn how we can help with a free consultation. Contact our offices at (614) 321-3212.

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