Unfortunately, it is common for doctors to mistakenly operate on the wrong site, missing the patient’s condition entirely. It has been estimated that doctors operate on the wrong site an average of 40 times a week. The victims of wrong site surgery carry all the same risks of surgery such as bleeding, infection, scarring, and disability. However, they do not receive any of the benefits that they were supposed to receive had the surgery been done on the proper site.
There are times when the patient is so weakened that they do not have the strength to surgery on the correct site. However, even if the surgery is done on the correct site, irreparable damage could have been done since the wrong-site surgery was completed. Even though some hospitals and doctors are implementing strategies to combat the occurrence of wrong site surgeries, the problem still seems to be getting worse.
Some wrong site surgeries have varying consequences for different people depending on what surgery they were supposed to receive and the surgery they actually received. A patient at Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York City had the wrong kidney removed by a doctor during surgery. The reason the mistake was made it not entirely certain, but both kidneys were diseased, so that may have been a factor. However, the doctor was supposed to remove the more diseased kidney, but instead removed the more diseased kidney. Once the doctor realized his mistake he removed the other kidney. The patient survived the procedure but is now living on dialysis. The patient has forgiven the doctor after the hospital publicly apologized for the mistake.
There are multiple reasons for wrong site mistakes, such as mixing up the left and right sides, operating on a patient who was given the tests results of someone else on accident, incorrectly marking the wrong vertebrae prior to spinal surgery, or failing to mark the site at all. Additionally, some errors occur when a member of the surgical team may believe something is wrong but does not speak up. Some hospitals have implemented protocols that make it more likely that someone on the surgical team would speak up if they noticed something was wrong.
However, if you or a loved one has suffered injury due to a wrong site surgery, you should contact an experienced medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible.
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