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Incorrect Surgical Procedure Performed

According to a CNN report from 2011, about 2,700 surgeries occur on the wrong part of the body or the wrong person each year in the United States. Such events are inexcusable and obviously life-altering for those who endure such mistakes. If you or a loved one was improperly operated on during a surgical procedure, contact the medical malpractice attorneys at Altman & Altman LLP today to get started on a malpractice suit.

Wrong-site, wrong-procedure, wrong-patient errors (WSPEs) are events that, similar to medical instruments being left in the body during surgery, are referred to in medical communities as “never events,” meaning they should never occur and are indicative of serious safety protocol problems by a doctor, nurse or other hospital staff – or even procedural problems of a hospital as a whole.

The Patient Safety Network compiled data on these WSPEs and found that:

  • 59 percent of such events occur on the wrong side of a patient, for example a knee surgery occurring on the right leg instead of the left leg.
  • 23 percent occurred on the correct side, but on the wrong part of the body. For example, surgery correctly occurring on the spine, but on the incorrect vertebrae or section of spine.
  • 14 percent involved the surgeon performing the wrong procedure entirely.
  • 5 percent involved the entirely wrong person getting a surgical procedure intended for an entirely different patient.

Prevention of such accidents are exceedingly simple. Doctors will often have patients personally mark the area that is being operated on in permanent marker, to ensure there is no mistake in regards to the site of the surgery. But there are dozens of more layers of preventative action prior to the marking that should make one of these errors impossible.

No surgery happens quickly. Prior to a procedure are consultations with a primary care physician, diagnostic tests, further consults with a surgeon and a whole host of paperwork and charting which must be drawn up by medical professionals. At no point should a surgeon be making an educated guess on what they’re supposed to be performing, or if it is on the correct patient. In fact, there should be a procedural pause before a surgery – called a surgical timeout – where all of this information is verified before the procedure commences.

How do These Events Occur?

Despite the many safeguarding factors against these types of errors, they do still occur, and one person may not be liable for the mistake occurring. For such a never event to occur, it is more likely that it involved a procedural failure on behalf of multiple parties, such as a nurse, lab technician, primary care physician and a surgeon.

Mistakes involving surgery can have permanent physical and mental consequences on the patients who endure them. The fact is that these types of events should never occur and they are entirely preventable by some basic procedures which must be followed prior to any surgery. If you or a loved one has been victimized by undergoing the incorrect surgery, contact a professional medical malpractice attorney today.

The medical malpractice attorneys at Altman & Altman LLP have over 50 years of experience advocating on behalf of our clients who have suffered due to medical malpractice. We represent patients in Boston, Cambridge and throughout Massachusetts, so we are ready and prepared to go against even the biggest, most well-known hospitals in the world. We will aggressively pursue a settlement or a positive outcome in court to help procure financial compensation for your medical expenses and pain and suffering.

Call for a free consultation today at 617.492.3000 or toll-free at 800.481.6199. We are available 24/7.

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I am not very good at words. I was involved in a horrible accident. David and his team (Thank You Asia & Rick) are wonderful, talented and compassionate. If it were not for their help, I don’t believe the outcome would be as good as it is. I am glad my case is settled, Altman & Altman are my go to team from now on. Thank you so very much. - Christine F M Teixeira
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