Wrong Patient Surgery

Wrong-patient surgery is one of several types of medical harm that can occur at any given time. It doesn’t occur as often as other problems in medical facilities, but it still happens far too often. It should never happen. Proper preparation, attention to detail and care can usually prevent major problems from occurring in the operation room. However, when stress levels are high and simple, standard procedures are not followed, the result can be personal injury or wrongful death.

Mistaken patient identity can occur if a patient is given someone else’s medication or taken for an exam or operation under the other person’s name.

Where can wrong-patient surgery occur?

It can occur on any organ, limb or section of the spine. When a surgeon performs an operation on a person that does not require an operation, it is wrong-patient surgery.

Why does wrong-patient surgery occur?

Wrong-patient surgery occurs when a doctor negligently performs a procedure on one person that was intended for someone else. This form of medical malpractice & negligence is generally the result of a rushed surgical environment where surgeons face time constraints and emergencies that open the door for medical errors. The errors leading to wrong-patient surgery can be as simple as mixing up a hospital chart or X-ray.

What are the consequences of wrong-patient surgery?

While medical mistakes are never intentional, they can have serious consequences, including:

• Paralysis
• Negligent removal of an organ or limb
• Infection
• Bowel injuries
• Deformation and disfigurement
• Loss of sensation
• Long-term disability
• Wrongful death

How can wrong-patient surgery be prevented?

The Joint Commission gives us a few guidelines on the practices surgeons should follow to prevent wrong-patient surgery.

• Verify the correct procedure for the correct patient at the correct site
• Involve the patient in the verification process if possible
• Verify availability of documentation such as consent form, history and physical
• Confirm the consent form with the patient or the patient’s designated representative

Did the surgeon make an error or medical mistake during surgery?

Most times, surgical errors and complications are not admitted by surgeons or described in medical records. As you probably suspect, surgeons rarely, if ever, admit they made a medical mistake or surgical error during an operation. Because of the medical culture, nurses and other personnel in the operating room will also rarely report that a doctor made a medical mistake or surgical error during a patient’s surgery. Although all surgeons are required by law to dictate a detailed medical report describing the surgery that was performed, most times medical mistakes or surgical errors are not described in the report. Instead, these reports will detail a flawless surgery without surgical errors or medical mistakes even if there was a medical complication and a bad outcome. Therefore, there will rarely be any written record of whether an error was made.

Can I trust my New Jersey Medical malpractice attorney to prove my surgery was unnecessary and negligent?

After such an ordeal, it is natural to wonder, “Do I have a case?”, “Was my doctor negligent?” or “What are my rights?” We are here to answer those important questions.

Our firm has extensive experience in evaluating wrong-patient surgery cases in the New Jersey and Philadelphia regional area. This experience has directly resulted in successful results for our clients. We have a unique team of medical and legal professionals that work together to prepare your case. Our medical expertise puts our clients at an advantage when taking on hospitals and medical facilities with significant resources. Our New Jersey civil trial attorneys break down the law aspects of your case.

Unlike most firms, you will have direct access to a medical professional who will answer your questions about surgical errors and complications. These professionals will provide helpful resources while you may still be recovering from a surgical injury. Furthermore, you will have the benefit of working with experienced and distinguished certified New Jersey civil trial attorneys who deal specifically in the area of medical malpractice. This is important because medical malpractice lawsuits can be very complicated and require knowledge of medical and scientific concepts in addition to having exceptional trial skills.

Where can I find more information?

“Not that leg! New Rules to Fight Surgery Errors” – Read an analysis of the recommendations made by the Joint Commission that gives practical information on how to avoid wrong-patient surgery.

“Oops, Wrong Patient: Journal Takes on Medical Mistakes” – Patient advocacy groups and people about to have a surgical procedures can learn a lot from this article. Doctors who have actually performed wrong-patient surgery have agreed to discuss these cases in detail in an effort to prevent future mishaps.

Do you have more questions?

We’d be happy to answer them. At the Mininno Law Office, you can talk to experienced civil trial attorneys who can answer your questions. We’d be happy to offer any help you need. Contact the Mininno Law Office by filling out the free case evaluation on the left, call (856) 833-0600 in New Jersey or call (215) 567-2380 in Pennsylvania.

We look forward to hearing from you.

(c) Copyright 2011 Mininno Law Office