Surgery in which the surgeon performs a procedure on the wrong body part is referred to as wrong site surgery. It constitutes a rare, yet vivid and disturbing medical error that can have devastating consequences for the victim in West Palm Beach, FL. These errors are often referred to as “never events” because they should never occur and reveal a potential serious issue of incompetency and/ or lack of surgery safety protocol among those responsible for the error.
Negligence and wrong site surgery
The Joint Commission is a nonprofit organization that recognizes hospitals for providing quality patient care. The Commission reports that the majority of wrong site surgeries are the result of negligence among hospital staff and medical professionals. These negligent errors include:
- Failure to obtain or record the patient’s consent
- Rushed or careless hospital booking activities
- Failure to verify patient or double check the patient’s identity
- Failure to use Time Out consistently – “Time Out” is recommended by the Joint Commission to verify the patient before entering surgery
- Missing medical paperwork
- Someone other than the surgeon prepping and marking the patient
- Using site marking protocols inconsistently
- Deficient and inefficient organizational protocols at the hospital (unreliable staff education, detached senior leadership, and inconsistent focus on patient safety)
The two primary factors that lead to wrong site surgery and wrong patient surgery are lack of consistency in following hospital protocols and communication failures.
Preventing wrong site surgery
With the goal to minimize the occurrence of wrong site surgery, the Joint Commission created a Universal Protocol that is supported by the American Hospital Association and the American Medical Association.
The protocol requires all surgeons in West Palm Beach and throughout the nation to follow these guidelines:
- Verify the location of operation before surgery starts
- Mark the operation site prior to surgery
- Use a Time Out immediately before the procedure begins
Wrong site surgery consequences
Although medical malpractice in the form of wrong site surgery does not have permanent, negative consequences or create worsening health conditions for every patient who is the subject of this unfortunate error, in some cases it does. For instance, if a surgeon operates on a healthy organ – for instance the healthy kidney, instead of the unhealthy kidney – the consequences can be disastrous.
The consequences may require additional surgery to repair the damage done, and/or addressing other complications depending on the extent to which the wrong site surgery was completed. These and other types of issues can impose significant financial hardship upon the patient and his or her family in addition to all of the attendant physical and emotional suffering involved from the actual medical error.
Wrong site surgeries are never supposed to happen. However, when they do, you must recover not only from the surgery, but also from the error and complications arising from the surgery. You may also need additional surgeries to correct the mistake. If you are suffering from this scenario right now in West Palm Beach due to medical malpractice, our attorneys at Yeboah Law Group can fight vigorously on your behalf to help you recover the financial compensation you deserve for your losses. To explore your options with a free consultation, call our law office today at 954-764-2338 or send us a message through our contact form.