It is a terrible shock to discover that you or your loved one has been a victim of a wrong site surgery. Most patients don’t consider the possibility of getting the wrong surgery, a surgical procedure on the wrong body part, or getting another patient’s surgery, due to hospital error. The prevalence of these events is generally unknown by the public at large.
These “never events” or events that should never occur, take place in about one out of 112,000 surgeries, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Another source, WebMD, reports that the numbers of reported surgical errors are in the range of 4,044 per year. The highest percentage of these errors are wrong site surgeries.
Surgical errors include a range of mistakes made by surgeons or other staff in a medical facility. Some of the more common types of surgeries performed in error are as follows, according to the agency:
A patient who has been the victim of such a serious Philadelphia surgical error can suffer extreme or life-changing consequences.
A wrong limb removed is an example of the most serious of mistakes in wrong-site surgeries. Unfortunately, when correct procedures have been violated, this tragedy can occur, and according to the agency is the most common of all wrong-site surgery errors, coming in at 59 percent of the cases on record.
Site marking is one procedure implemented in the effort to perform a surgery on the correct site. Even site marking is open to human error. When an X-ray is turned in error, the opposite limb or body part appears to be the affected site, and the surgeon proceeds with the surgery, completely unaware that his or her data is absolutely incorrect. The patient, who may have needed the other limb removed, is now facing life with both limbs amputated.
Some patients come out of surgery having had a dangerous or invasive surgical treatment that was meant for another patient entirely. These cases occur in five percent of the wrong site surgery cases. A patient with a similar last name, or same last name, can easily have another patient’s data put into his or her medical records. The patient, who was originally scheduled for a completely different treatment or surgery, now faces dealing with recovering from a surgery that was not needed, and may leave the patient disabled, or with serious complications.
There are many patients that undergo surgery, only to find out that they have had the wrong procedure. These cases, according to the agency occur in about 14 percent of the “never events” reported. Underlying these very serious errors is a hospital failure. These failures most often lie in the communication system used to share information between various professionals in the facility. Most hospitals now use digital systems to share information, and as with any system, human error can come into play, with tragic results. Wrong site surgeries (WSS) are not minor cases of medical malpractice. It is hard to imagine a more serious error than having the wrong body part operated on, or worse, removed completely.
There are several hospital processes that could reduce the chances of a surgeon making one of these tragic errors. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, 79 percent of wrong site eye surgery and 84 percent of wrong-site orthopedic surgical procedures have resulted in medical malpractice awards – and for good reason. The hospital and all staff must adhere to all protocols before performing surgery. When the process fails, it is the patient who pays the ultimate price for an error that need not have occurred. All hospitals follow a “universal protocol.”
The actions that hospitals should have in place, include:
If you or a loved one has been a victim of wrong site surgery, you have questions and concerns. Here are some answers to common questions regarding this serious form of medical malpractice:
Wrong site surgery, or WSS, is a surgery performed on the wrong part of the body. It may be the wrong side, wrong patient, or wrong surgical site.
This events occur at a rate of about 4,400 per year, but may be much more prevalent, as this does not include out-patient clinics where many surgeries are performed, according to the U.S. Department of Health.
Your first step is to get in touch with a qualified and experienced medical malpractice lawyer. The facts surrounding how the wrong site surgery occurred must be obtained and preserved as early as possible after the surgery.
The amount paid in a settlement will vary, based upon the long term consequences for the victim of the wrong site surgery. At the Colleran Firm, we offer a free case evaluation to assist you in determining the value of your case, as well as the expected length of time to reach a settlement. Each case is different.
There are several errors that can contribute to these dangerous incidents, according to the Joint Commission Center for Transforming Healthcare. These include:
Our legal team at the Colleran Firm has a record in achieving justice and full financial compensation for victims of medical malpractice. We assist clients in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. We have recovered millions of dollars in damages in cases of medical negligence.
Our lawyers work together closely, and the majority of the lawyers at our firm are family members, each of whom has had the distinct honor of being listed in Super Lawyers®, as well as having the highest peer review rating from Martindale-Hubbell®, AV Preeminent®.
If you have suffered from injuries due to wrong site surgery, contact the experienced medical malpractice attorneys at the Colleran Firm for a free case evaluation.