Group of surgeons performing a wrong-site surgery.

Wrong-Site Surgery

Surgery is a big deal. It is a major medical procedure where you are trusting your doctor and a team of medical professionals with cutting into your body in the name of improving your health in one way or another. This is a substantial amount of trust. Think about the anxiety a person feels going into surgery. Imagine this person coming out of anesthesia only to realize that the surgery was performed on the wrong part of the body. Devastation may be putting it mildly. The emotional impact of being the victim of such an error would be enough to try and handle alone, but the physical impact can be severe on top of this. Wrong site surgeries are almost always the result of medical negligence. 

If you have been the victim of wrong site surgery caused by medical negligence, you may bring a medical malpractice seeking compensation for the damages you have sustained.

The Universal Protocol for Wrong Site Surgeries

Due to an increase in the number of wrong site surgeries occurring, the Joint Commission, the accrediting body for hospitals, developed the Universal Protocol aimed at improving patient safety in surgical procedures. The Universal Protocol involves three steps, including:

  • Pre-surgery verification: The surgeon is to verify that he or she is going in to perform the correct surgery on the correct site on the correct patient. This step should involve discussing things with the patient and asking for the patient to verify his or her identity as well as the surgery he or she is there for.
  • Marking the surgery site: The Joint Commission protocol recommends that the surgery site should be marked prior to surgery. Again, the patient should be involved in this step in the process.
  • Performing a time-out: The surgeon, as well as the entire surgical team, should pause prior to the start of surgery to address any questions or concerns. The whole surgical team should agree that the correct surgery is being performed on the correct site on the correct patient.

Failure to comply with the Universal Protocol may show that medical negligence occurred and resulted in harm to the patient. When proper care is not exercised in relation to a surgical procedure, patients suffer. The victim of a wrong site surgery has experienced a trauma. Surgery and recovering from surgery is often painful. Additionally, the patient still needs treatment for the health issue the planned for surgery was supposed to address. The delay in receiving the proper medical treatment can cause exacerbation of the existing illness on top of meaning that the patient will have to go through another surgery and another hospitalization period. This means more pain, more medical expenses, and more time away from work.

Pennsylvania Medical Malpractice Attorneys

If you have been the victim of a wrong site surgery, you have been through such an ordeal. The pain, suffering, and anxiety you have experienced is likely severe. The medical malpractice attorneys at Cooper Schall & Levy will pursue your legal right to full and fair compensation for the harm you have suffered. We fight these legal battles for our clients so they can focus on their health, well-being, and recovery. Contact us today.