How Common are Wrong-Sided Surgical Procedures?

Wrong- sided surgical procedures occur numerous times a year, as a medical malpractice lawyer  trusts. Wrong-side surgeries are the most common types of wrong-site surgical errors. At Rhode Island Hospital in 2007, three wrong-site surgeries occurred. Doctors in Colorado operated on the wrong patient 25 times and on the wrong part of the body on 107 patients over the course of 6.5 years. According to a study performed by researchers from Johns Hopkins, wrong site surgeries are performed incorrectly approximately twenty times a week across the United States. Errors that lead to wrong-site or wrong-side surgeries include booking errors, no checklists, inadequate systems to verify the proper site, relying solely on surgeon to verify the proper site, time pressure, surgical team competency, improper medical record review, failure to include family members in pre-operation discussions, failure to discuss with and include patient in pre-operating procedures, failure to clearly mark the operation site, and non-compliance with pre-operation procedures.

These errors can negatively impact the patient’s life, and sometimes even result in death. For example, if a patient is in the hospital with a diseased and non-functional kidney and the doctor accidentally removes the healthy kidney, the patient would be left with no functioning kidneys. Most victims of wrong-site or wrong-side surgeries must undergo an additional surgery to receive the treatment they need. An additional surgery may also need to be performed to fix the errors caused by the original surgery. Liability generally depends on the errors that occurred that lead to the wrong surgery, but usually the hospital or healthcare facility and physician performing the procedure are at fault.

If you believe that you are a victim of a wrong-side or wrong-site surgery, it is important to request your medical records and consult with another physician about your procedure. A second opinion would help determine if you are indeed a victim of careless error. Damages you can receive if you pursue a claim against the hospital or physician include the cost of past medical care, cost of future medical care, and any pain and suffering caused by the surgery. According to a recent study, roughly 79 percent of wrong-site surgeries and roughly 84 percent of wrong-side surgery claims resulted in medical malpractice awards in the past decade.

If you believe that you are a victim of wrong-site or wrong-side surgery and would like to pursue a claim, it is important to act fast. In the state of West Virginia, there is a statute of limitations set on medical malpractice lawsuits. The statute of limitations states that the case must be commenced within two years of the date of the injury, or within two years of the date when such person discovers, or with the exercise of reasonable diligence, should have discovered such injury, whichever last occurs.” The statute of limitations also states that in no event shall any such action be commenced more than ten years after the date of injury. With a medical malpractice case, many factors are involved and take time. Obtaining medical records, hospital bills, and finding an expert in the relevant field to evaluate the case all take time. Therefore, pursue your possible medical malpractice case as soon as possible.