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How common are wrong-site surgeries?


Last week we discussed how new technology could help prevent surgical errors. While this development might be promising for Miami's medical patients, it is far from reality. Until operation mistakes are completely avoidable, patients will have to confront the fact that they could be at risk of a wrong-site surgery.

A wrong-site surgery is an operation that is performed on the wrong part of the patient's body or on the wrong person. It could also occur when the wrong operation was conducted. Though wrong-site surgeries are completely preventable, they still happen more often than they should. In the 15-year span between 1995 and 2010, nearly 1,000 such surgeries were reported. One study estimated that the chance of suffering a wrong-site surgery is around 1 in 113,000 operations. While this may seem like a minimal chance of harm, there is no way to tell when such an incident might occur. Therefore, all who undergo surgery are susceptible to these traumatic errors.

Those who are subjected to a wrong-site surgery could suffer extensive and various types of harm. They may be left paralyzed, disfigured and in pain. Additionally, a victim may be left with emotional damage, as well as financial loss caused by accumulating medical bills and lost wages due to an inability to work. Fortunately, these individuals may be able to recover their losses by filing a medical malpractice lawsuit.

Filing a surgery error-based lawsuit might be intimidating, especially when an individual is struggling to cope with their injuries. However, an experienced Miami attorney may be able to help these victims develop a solid case that puts them in a strong position to recover compensation. Then, hopefully, not only will they be able to reach the health and financial recovery they deserve, but they will also be able to shine a light on an important, yet little recognized medical risk.

Source: National Patient Safety Foundation, "Key Facts About Patient Safety," accessed on Aug. 28, 2014

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