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What are some causes of wrong-site surgeries?

Medical advances have left patients with more options than ever before. Though some illnesses and conditions are now treatable via non-invasive means, others still require invasive operations. Those who have had to undergo surgery know just how nerve-wracking it can be. A patient can have concerns about the operation’s success rate and the likelihood that an organ or artery will be inadvertently nicked. One concern that patients often fail to recognize is the very real possibility of a wrong-site surgery.

It seems improbable, but medical professionals make mistakes that lead to surgery being conducted on the wrong area of the body. It may be on the wrong leg or arm, or it could be the wrong surgery altogether, focusing on an otherwise healthy part of the body. Studies have been conducted to identify the causes of wrong-site surgical errors, and findings are startling. For example, there may be inconsistencies related to marking the site of the surgery. Sometimes medical professionals are in such a rush that they fail to verify with the patient where the operation is to occur.

Mistakes are also made in the operating room, leaving patients at risk of undeserved harm. Doctors may fail to refer to documentation which would allow them to verify the patient, the operation to be conducted and the site of the surgery. For a variety of reasons, medical professionals may also remove the site mark, causing them to operate in error.

As ludicrous as a wrong-site surgery may sound, far too many individuals are still subjected to them today despite our medical advances. Those who have suffered physical, emotional and financial harm as a result of one of these procedures may wish to consult with a legal professional to discuss their options for seeking compensation.

Source: Hospitals in Pursuit of Excellence, “Reducing the Risks of Wrong-Site Surgery: Safety Practices from The Joint Commission Center for Transforming Healthcare Project,” accessed on Feb. 5, 2016


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