Wrong side or "wrong site" surgeries are an extremely dangerous phenomenon in the medical field. Like it sounds, wrong side surgery is when a surgeon operates on the wrong side of the body or the incorrect organ during a procedure. For example, a doctor might remove a healthy kidney while leaving the infected one. Many of these errors could have been prevented by better patient-physician counseling, but all of them are avoidable. According to the head of the Joint Commission on Accreditation of health care organizations, wrong side surgeries are getting worse and becoming more prevalent.
USA Today also reports:
The study of 2.8 million operations over a 20-year period, published in today's Archives of Surgery, suggests that the rate of "wrong site" surgery anywhere other than the spine is 1 in every 112,994 operations. The study excludes the spine, the authors explain, because surgical sites on the spine are verified with X-rays, in contrast to the apparent simplicity of marking the correct knee or ear in advance.
The Joint Commission receives around 100 reports of wrong side surgeries on a yearly basis. Although this circumstance may seem rare when you look at it as a one in over 100,000 chance, the fact that there are any wrong side surgeries is unacceptable. Due to the increase in these surgical errors, the Joint Commission started requiring surgeons in 2004 to mark the spot they plan to cut while their patient is still awake to consult with the physician. Even still, surgical errors can happen. How is this possible?
Some surgeons can become overconfident, thinking that they would never be prone to make a mistake that grave. Truthfully, to err is human, and surgeons are no exception. When Joint Commission protocols are not strictly adhered to, serious accidents during surgery can happen. A wrong side surgery can even result in the death of the patient.
More recent studies, according to CNN, show an even greater frequency of these errors:
According to a 2006 study looking at the frequency of surgical errors in the United States, each year there could be as many as 2,700 mistakes where a surgery is performed on the wrong body part or the wrong patient. That's about seven per day.
According to a study conducted by Richard J. Croteau in conjunction with The Joint Commission, 46 percent of wrong site surgeries result in permanent injury. Over 4,000 events were reviewed by the Joint Commission from the years 1995 to 2006 and it concluded that there were 531 total wrong side surgeries. Is there anything that victims can do?
At The Tolson Firm, LLC, our Atlanta medical malpractice attorney is passionate about fighting for the rights of medical malpractice victims. Since wrong side surgery is completely avoidable, victims should be able to fight back against the negligent doctors and hospital facilities. No matter how minor or how major the event was, you have a right to take action against carelessness that could have caused permanent injury or even death. The team of medical malpractice attorneys at our firm have years of experience in not only personal injury cases, but with hospital negligence in particular. There is a statute of limitations in place for malpractice victims, so take action as soon as possible after an event. Our firm has handled many multi-million dollar cases, and is no stranger to complex cases where the opposition is fierce.
We are ready to fight for you, so do not hesitate to contact our Atlanta firm today to discuss your case!