Wrong-site surgery is one of several types of medical harm that can occur in any given operation. It doesn’t occur as often as other problems in medical facilities, but it still happens far too often. Proper preparation, attention to detail and care can usually prevent major problems. When simple, standard procedures are not followed, the result can be personal injury or wrongful death.
Unfortunately, because surgeons are not required to report errors to The Joint Commission, rules such as marking the location of the operation are often ignored by doctors. They either view such suggestions as “insulting” or they cannot justify wasting time to take the extra precaution.
How often does wrong-site surgery occur?
Our research shows that it occurs every day in the U.S. According to a study conducted by the Archives of Surgery, wrong-site surgery occurs in one out of every 112,994 surgical procedures. This form of medical malpractice is generally the result of someone failing to mark the location of the procedure as required by The Joint Commission.
Where can wrong-site surgery occur?
It can occur on the incorrect organ, limb or section of the spine. When a surgeon performs an operation on an area that does not require an operation, it is wrong-site surgery.
Why does wrong-site surgery occur?
Generally, it is the result of a practitioner failing to mark the location of the procedure. The mark ensures that the operation will be performed on the proper spot. In addition, everyone on the medical staff will know where the surgery is supposed to occur. The practitioner is required to make this mark before the surgeon performs an operation.
How can wrong-site surgery be prevented?
The Joint Commission gives us a set of guidelines on the practices surgeons should follow to prevent wrong-site surgery.
• Mark the site when there is more than one possible location for the procedure
• Mark the site when performing the procedure in a different location could harm the patient
• For a spinal procedure, mark the general spinal region on the skin
• Mark the site before the procedure is performed
• Involve the patient in the site-marking process if possible
• A licensed independent practitioner should mark the site and be present for the procedure
What are the consequences of wrong-site surgery?
• Amputation of wrong body part
• Bowel injures
• Birth injuries
• Deformation and disfigurement
• Loss of sensation
• Brain damage
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 that a surgical error or medical mistake occurred during my surgery?
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-site 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 & negligence. 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?
• Joint Commission tips on preventing wrong site surgery – Print out these tips and take them with you to a surgical procedure.
• “Wrong Site Surgeries on the Rise” – Read real-life examples of wrong-site surgery and an explanation of the study published in the Archives of Surgery.
• “Wrong-Site Surgery” – Learn helpful suggestions for patient advocates seeking to stop wrong-site surgery.
• “Medical Errors? Patients May be the Last to Know” – Do you believe your doctor would tell you if a medical error happened during surgery? Read on to find the answer.
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.
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