Surgery is an anxiety-provoking ordeal. Even with competent surgeons performing the procedure, things may go wrong due to unforeseen complications. One thing that may go wrong that is completely preventable is wrong site surgery. Wrong site surgery occurs when a surgeon operates on the wrong part of the body due to subpar preoperative planning, miscommunication between the medical team and surgeon, a failure to communicate with the patient, and the surgeon’s failure to exercise due care in the operating room. Instances of wrong site surgery are usually Hudson medical malpractice and can result in liability of the health care team.
According to the Joint Commission Center for Transforming Health, there are 29 noted negligent actions that lead to wrong site surgery. Some of these negligent actions include: booking documents not verified by office schedulers; schedulers accepting verbal, rather than written, surgical requests; illegible handwriting; missing consent or surgical orders at time of booking; primary documents missing; someone other than the surgeon marking the site; paperwork problems discovered in pre-op; surgeon does not mark site in pre-op; site mark made with unapproved marker; or using stickers instead of markers used for site marking.
In the United States, most states are not required to report an incident of wrong site surgery. Estimates that also include wrong procedure, wrong patient and wrong side surgeries reveal wrong site surgery may occur as often as 40 times a week. That is a significant amount of times! Despite efforts to reduce the number of wrong site surgeries, they are still occurring.
It has been suggested by the American Academy of Orthapaedic Surgeons (AAOS) that if hospitals work with their surgeons and staff, they can significantly reduce the incidence of wrong site surgeries from occurring. This action, however, must be a unified effort between all parties involved. Some ways in which surgeons are attempting to successfully prevent wrong site surgery from occurring include: having the patient sign initials in marker on the part of the body where the operation is to occur; using a method of verifying that the correct patient is in the operating room; having a time out once in the operating room so that the surgical team can speak with one another about the patient and procedure they are about to perform. It is imperative that any incorrect information or discrepancies in information be noted before the patient’s surgery is initiated.
The Joint Commission Center for Transforming Healthcare has initiated a project to help reduce the incidence of wrong site surgery. The Commission has come up with the Targeted Solutions Tool (TSL). The TSL helps to better prevent the occurrence of wrong site surgery by getting the organization involved to examine it’s surgical process when it schedules surgery to when the surgery is completed; forces the organization to look at the entire surgical care system it has in place, rather than just the operating room and the surgeons in it; provides tools to collect data in surgical bookings, pre-op or pre-op holding, as well as the operating room; helps the organization to target any weaknesses the organization may have; and, finally, improves standardization throughout the entire hospital.
The attorneys at Greenberg and Greenberg handle medical malpractice case throughout New York State, including Columbia, Greene, Rensselaer, and Albany County. Our legal team has earned a reputation for dedicated service to our clients injured in New York personal injury accidents. Please contact us today to receive a free case evaluation by dialing locally to 518-828-3336 or call toll free at 877-469-9300.