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Why does wrong-site surgery happen?

On Behalf of | Jun 7, 2022 | Blog, Medical Malpractice |

Sometimes, mistakes happen during medical procedures. Although some instances might not result in harm to New Jersey residents, others are more serious. Wrong-site surgery is a good example of the latter.

What is wrong-site surgery?

Wrong-site surgery is a term that refers to a surgical procedure being wrongful performed. It is often considered medical malpractice and happens when surgery is performed on the wrong patient, wrong side of the body or on the wrong body part. It’s a problem that can have serious consequences for patients.

How common is wrong-site surgery?

Although wrong-site surgery situations are rare, they still occur and can leave patients suffering serious injuries and other damages. It’s often thought of as an instance of medical malpractice caused by newer doctors, but many wrong-site surgeries occur with experienced surgeons. According to a study from 2006, around 25 to 52 of such surgeries were performed weekly in the United States. Many doctors who make such errors don’t believe it could happen to them.

How serious are wrong-site surgeries?

Wrong-site surgeries are considered the worst medical errors. In the worst-case scenario, patients can die from them. Some can be left with serious repercussions based on a wrong-site surgery. For example, if a patient has breast cancer and the wrong patient is given a mastectomy, both are left with injuries. The person with breast cancer may have lost precious time in the delay of her surgery while the other is left maimed.

Doctors and medical staff can take measures to prevent wrong-site surgeries from happening. A checklist could help. There should be questions asking about the patient confirming their identity, surgical procedure to be performed, site to be operated on and the patient’s consent. The site to be operated on should also be marked to avoid errors.

Wrong-site surgery can be devastating. If it’s happened to you or a loved one, you have the right to fight back.