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Wrong Site Surgery Claims Attorney


Tragically, wrong-site surgical mistakes do happen, and they can happen to anyone. Even good doctors can make devastating errors, and when they do, patients have the right to seek compensation for any medical, emotional or financial difficulties they may suffer. If you or a loved one are a victim of wrong site surgery a medical malpractice attorney can assist you with your claim.

Wrong-site surgeries often involve symmetrical parts of the body such as eyes, ears, hips or kidneys. Also, there may be a misunderstanding about the procedure needed, or a doctor may even mistake one patient for another.

What can lead to such an alarming error? Many cases involve lack of communication among medical professionals. Likewise, a surgeon may fail to communicate with the patient prior to surgery. Other causes include failure to perform proper checks before the surgery, and procedures being performed by surgeons too pressed for time. Many surgeons have been known to walk into a surgical setting with no conversation at all and start the procedure, without even knowing the names of their nurses. This can lead to wrong site surgery and the doctor can be at fault.

A review of wrong site surgery mistakes indicates that patients undergoing multiple procedures, those with multiple surgeons, or those in a hurry to do the surgery face a greater risk of error. Unusual equipment in the surgical area, distractions, staffing problems, communication problems and lack of teamwork also were cited.

In 2003, the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations was receiving five to eight reports of wrong site surgery every month, prompting a Universal Protocol aimed at preventing wrong site surgeries. The Protocol was developed at a national summit involving the Joint Commission, the American Medical Association, the American College of Physicians, the American College of Surgery, and the American Dental Association.

The Protocol includes a procedure to verify the patient, procedure and surgical site prior to surgery, marking the operative site, and a “time out” for surgical team members to ensure all processes are completed and accurate before the procedure begins. The Protocol applies to any surgical setting. Wrong site surgeries continue despite increased awareness and strategies to prevent them. The Joint Commission continues to receive eight to 10 reports of these surgeries per month. And this may be the tip of the iceberg not all hospitals report their blunders. The number of people suffering from the result of wrong site surgery has been estimated to be between 1,300 and 2,700 per year.

Who Can Sue

If you have been the victim of wrong site surgery or a surgical mistake, you may consider contacting a personal injury attorney to seek compensation for medical expenses, lost wages and suffering. Aside from possibly winning compensation for yourself, you may be helping to prevent future wrong site surgeries.

Suffering for a victim of these surgeries can be very real, as the condition for which he or she originally sought help may worsen. A wrong site surgery also can lead to mental anguish, physical disability, mounting medical costs, and loss of ability to work.

Interesting Facts
  • More than 50 million surgical procedures were performed in the United States in 2007, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. With each operation comes a risk of medical and surgical malpractice.
  • A study published in the Archives of Surgery suggests that the rate of wrong-site surgery (not including the spine) is one in every 112,994 operations.
  • The Joint Commission evaluates and accredits 15,000 health care organizations and programs in the United States.
Potential Recovery

The cost of wrong site surgery is high in many ways the medical institutions involved face public disclosure and fines, along with a loss of trust by potential patients. For the victim, a medical malpractice claim may result in a settlement in the six- to seven-figure range. Talk to an accident attorney specializing in medical malpractice  to see if you have a potential wrong site surgery claim.

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