Why wrong site surgeries occur
The word surgery is one that often instills fear in patients. While there is the fear that something could go wrong, there is also the concern that a surgeon might make a mistake. Surgical errors could happen to any patient no matter what type of surgery, and occur because of a medical mistake or negligence occurring in the operating room. Thus, patients who have suffered such a horrible event should understand how this could happen and what rights they have.
Even with all the advances in modern medicine, mistakes can happen. This means that wrong site surgeries could happen to surgical patients. Operating on the wrong side of the body, wrong body part or even patient could cause patients significant harms to their health and wellbeing. These events are known as never events, which mean that they should never happen.
Because Medicare does not pay for repeat surgeries if it is discovered that the wrong body part was operated on, private insurance companies have followed suit. This can present major issues for patients who have fallen victim to wrong site surgeries.
In order to understand why these never events occur, one should look at the efforts put in place to prevent them. By getting the patients involved, a surgeon can make sure they are both aware of what is about to happen and what part or side of the body will be operated on. Marking the body is a sure way to prevent errors. Another way to reduce these never events is by taking a time out in the operating room before beginning the procedure. This means that more than one team member has identified and verified what the surgery entails.
Communication is often key in preventing wrong site surgeries. Thus, it is possible to have multiple medical professionals liable for a surgical mistake. Thus, patients harmed by this form of medical negligence should understand their rights and how a medical malpractice action could help them.
Source: Dermatology Times, "Melanoma and the wrong site," David J. Goldberg, July 31, 2017