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How is Wrong-Site Surgery a Blatant Form of Medical Malpractice?

Posted on December 24th, 2014 by Admin

Wrong-site surgery (WSS) may not be a well-known term among medical patients.  However, it is a common term used in the medical field for operating on the wrong body area, the wrong patient, or performing the wrong surgical procedure on a patient.  Amputating the wrong limb, giving the wrong patient an appendectomy, or performing a gall bladder removal instead of a tonsillectomy are all examples of wrong-site surgeries.  And as cases go, medical malpractice lawyers in Atlanta have a good chance of winning a WSS case.

A National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) article reported that a high percentage of wrong-site surgeries result in malpractice claim awards—79 percent for eye surgery and 84 percent of orthopedic surgeries.  While wrong-site surgeries are rare (one in 27,686 cases), the number of these cases increased significantly between 1998 and 2007 from 15 cases to 592 cases.  As a result of wrong-site surgeries, state medical boards may impose penalties on physicians and insurers may refuse to pay for the surgeries done.  Wrong-site surgeries are definitely more blatant forms of medical malpractice.

Various causes can lead to this particular type of medical malpractice.  Organizational factors that lead to WSS often include:

  • Communication failures
  • Procedural noncompliance
  • Leadership problems
  • More than one surgeon involved in the procedure
  • Multiple procedures during one operation
  • Team incompetence
  • Failure to recheck patient information before beginning surgery

The hospital or practitioner may even approach patients about a malpractice settlement before they have had a chance to consult a lawyer.  It is always in your best interests to seek a legal opinion first.  The Cochran Firm Atlanta can help protect your rights and ensure the settlement is a fair offer.

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