Washington Post – Wrong Site Surgery Happens 40 Times a Week

Holy crap… that’s about all I can say about that. This article is amazing. You would think that wrong site/wrong person surgery could be prevented (and it can), but it still happens. A lot.

All sorts of problems still happen with regularity. Surgery based on test results given to the wrong person. Flipped x-rays (really? even in the digital age where all x-rays are on a computer?). Marking the wrong side of the body or the wrong vertebra.

Several years ago, the National Quality Forum coined the term “never events” to describe medical errors that are almost entirely preventable. These include:

  • wrong site/wrong patient surgeries,
  • medication errors,
  • wrong procedures,
  • retained objects after surgery (clamps, sponges, etc),
  • pressure ulcers or bedsores,
  • injury due to incompatible blood or blood products,
  • death or serious injury due to hypoglycemia
and several other very preventable but very serious errors. You can read more about them here.
The bottom line is that medical errors – even dumb ones – keep happening at a higher rate than they should. Even the staunch tort-reformers would have difficulty arguing that someone who is injured or the family of someone who dies from wrong site surgery or another one of these “never events” doesn’t deserve fair and full compensation. That’s where we come in.
(Howard Zimmerle is a medical malpractice and nursing home negligence lawyer practicing in Illinois and Iowa. He can be reached at hzimmerle [at] mjwlaw.com or 309-794-1660). 
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1 Comment

Filed under Medical Information, Medical Malpractice, Wrongful Death

One response to “Washington Post – Wrong Site Surgery Happens 40 Times a Week

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