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4 Wrong Site Surgery Medical Errors

Legally Reviewed and Edited by: Terry Cochran

Even if a surgery error doesn’t seem like it will have life-altering consequences, you should always consult with a medical malpractice attorney at Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C to make sure you get the compensation you need. Hospitals sometimes take steps to remedy the error on their own, but other times, the medical professionals involved attempt to cover up their mistake.

In 1999, the Institute of Medicine released a report showing that medical malpractice was a far vaster problem than American medical practitioners had realized. Though hospitals are taking more precautions to prevent surgical errors, they still happen more often than they should.

Some of the most serious and preventable medical malpractice types are collectively known as Wrong-Site Surgery (WSS) errors. As the name implies, these errors involve surgery on the wrong location altogether. Surgical teams can help prevent these errors by using “Sign Your Site” procedures, where a patient circles the location where their surgery is to be performed, but even this is sometimes not enough.

Here are the four main types of WSS errors that a medical malpractice lawyer at our law firm can help you file a lawsuit over.

1. Wrong Side

Having two of everything is great for humans, as it means we’ll often have a backup if one body part is injured. However, it does result in preventable medical errors in surgery.

If an operation on the wrong side of the body is not caught before it is completed, it can have devastating consequences for the patient. However, this type of error is easily prevented with “Sign Your Site” practices, and having surgeons double-check the site with nurses before entering the operating room.

2. Wrong Part

Some areas of the body, like the spine, have several similar-looking parts clustered close together. Not all surgeries involve working on visibly damaged tissue, so it’s possible for surgeons to remove something that they didn’t intend to.

This type of error is a little harder to prevent, as internal parts cannot be as easily “marked” for surgery. A competent surgical team should be able to successfully complete a surgery without making this type of error.

3. Wrong Patient

This is perhaps the most preventable of all WSS errors. Believe it or not, some hospitals have managed to complete surgery on the wrong patient, because of all the coverings and other preparation that occurs on a patient before being wheeled into the operating room.

The chances of this increase when a large number of professionals, including outside specialists, are involved in the procedure. However, any competent hospital should be able to keep track of which patient is in what room at any given time.

4. Wrong Procedure

Performing the wrong procedure entirely is included under the umbrella of WSS errors. This sometimes occurs when two similar procedures are commonly performed on the same body part. However, sometimes the error is much larger and obvious.

Sometimes the mistake is caught by another medical professional midway through the surgery, but nurses and other staff who don’t hold full medical degrees might not catch on to the mistake being made.

What Should I Do?

If you or a loved one has experienced a medical error during surgery, you may be eligible for compensation under Michigan or federal law. Medical malpractice is a serious matter that can have lifelong consequences, especially when surgery is involved. Plus, since the statute of limitations on medical malpractice cases in Michigan is only two years, you can’t afford to wait and see how your recovery goes.

You’ll need an experienced medical malpractice attorney on your side, and there’s no better choice than the team at Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. Our medical attorney team includes Eileen Kroll, a registered nurse and personal trial lawyer who can determine which medical professionals are responsible for the errors that caused you pain and suffering.

If you or a loved one have experienced a medical error during surgery, call our law firm at 866-MICH-LAW as a matter of urgency. Our firm operates on a contingency basis so you will not be charged a fee unless we win your case.

Disclaimer : The information provided is general and not for legal advice. The blogs are not intended to provide legal counsel and no attorney-client relationship is created nor intended.

Hannah Johnson has her Bachelor of Arts in Public Affairs with a specialization in civic engagement. Her career has focused on labor-related research, including unions, workers' compensation, and contract law. She is now broadening her career to include research and policy analysis in East Asia, specifically in countries like South Korea and Japan where the aging population is creating a new frontier in economic trends and public policy innovation.



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