While the following story didn’t occur here in Albuquerque, or New Mexico, or even the United States, it will still resonate with people here because of the incredible medical circumstances involved. A man in England was given a vasectomy when he was supposed to receive a simple urological procedure. Vasectomies can be reversed, but it is not a guarantee that it will work. This means the man may not be able to have children because of a “never event” — something that is never supposed to happen in a medical setting.
It isn’t clear what exactly happened amongst the medical staffers to lead to this botched and completely wrong surgery. But what is known is that the World Health Organization checklist for surgical procedures was not followed in this incident.
The surgeon responsible for this surgical error has been suspended by the hospital while an investigation is performed.
The breakdown in communication between the medical staffers in this incident is clearly shocking and disturbing. If there’s one thing surgeons and doctors and nurses need to be, it is detail-oriented. They need to be specific, and they need to communicate those details efficiently so that the patient receives the best care possible.
When that doesn’t happen, the patient can suffer immensely, as in this case. That suffering can manifest itself in the form of physical pain, or it can be mental suffering — or even both. In this case, we see an example of the mental anguish a patient can deal with in the wake of a medical malpractice incident. The patient may never be able to have kids because a surgeon performed the wrong operation.
Whether it’s physical or mental pain, those who suffer surgical errors can request damages to help deal with that suffering in the form of a medical malpractice lawsuit.
Source: UK Telegraph, “Man undergoing minor surgery given vasectomy by mistake,” Hayley Dixon, May 6, 2014