During a recent visit to the hospital, you learned your surgeon operated on the wrong body part. You know you likely have grounds for legal action, but you do not understand how the mistake happened.
WebMD explores various reasons for wrong-site surgery mistakes. By learning more about the matter, you could better understand what happened and how to proceed with your legal case.
With a blunder as major as operating on the wrong patient or body party, you may think only inexperienced medical professionals make such mistakes. Doctors with several decades of experience perform wrong-site operations.
Rather than consider experience, it makes more sense to look at medical specialty. Orthopedic surgeons, neurosurgeons, ophthalmologists, urologists, general surgeons and cardiologists perform wrong-site surgeries.
Parties other than surgeons
Other than surgeons, medical staff may make mistakes when scheduling surgeries. Other members of the medical team who may make mistakes that lead to wrong-site surgeries include pathologists and radiologists who draft medical reports. Operating room team members may also slip up.
If a person confuses right with left, that may pave the way to medical mistakes. The same applies to becoming distracted by something like background noise. While applying operative site markings during surgical prep, markings may rub off. Busy surgeons could fall back on muscle memory during a case, which may cause a surgical error.
To better prevent wrong-site surgery errors, the Joint Commission unveiled a universal protocol. The preventive method calls on medical care facilities to mark operative sites, perform preoperative verification based on the patient’s care documents and take time before surgery to consider potential mistakes.
Victims of wrong-site surgical errors deserve to understand their rights. Knowing how a medical mistake happened could help.