You’ve heard the horror stories, and unfortunately, they are true:
- A patient undergoes surgery on the wrong organ
- A patient undergoes surgery on the wrong side (wrong leg, wrong arm, etc.)
- A patient undergoes surgery intended for a different patient
An estimated 1,000 “wrong site” surgeries occur each year in America. Wrong site surgeries occur when the surgeon performs a procedure on the wrong organ or body part. Some of these cases have disastrous outcomes, such as one case where a patient had a healthy, right kidney removed, leaving behind a cancerous left kidney.
These surgical mistakes often have a life altering impact on their victims, resulting in serious physical handicaps or at a minimum an unnecessary procedure and the need to undergo surgery a second time. Fortunately, several medical organizations have come up with pre-surgical checklists to help prevent such surgical mistakes. The Joint Commission has the “Universal Protocol” which the Association of Perioperative Registered Nurses (AORN) subscribes to, and the World Health Organization (WHO) has a Surgical Safety Checklist that it promotes. Both the Protocol and the Checklist involve an interview with the conscious patient during which their name, birth date, admission number, and procedure to be performed are verified. The location of the procedure is also verified and marked. Both the Protocol and the Checklist call for a “time out” before the actual procedure begins. At the time-out, surgical staff go over every detail of the surgery and, once again, identify the patient, the location and the procedure.
These measures are meant to cut down the risk for wrong-site, wrong-patient surgical errors. Unfortunately, not all hospitals follow them. If you or a loved one has suffered from this type of surgical error, you or they, may be entitled to substantial compensation. To find out more about your legal rights and options, call the Atlanta surgical error lawyers at Grant Law Office for a free consultation, at (866) 249-5513 or (404) 995-3955.