The technology used in surgical procedures has improved substantially in recent years. There are even robotic devices capable of performing entire operations while under the control of a trained surgeon.
Unfortunately, technological advances do not eliminate the risks of medical issues caused by human error. Plenty can still go wrong during a surgery, including catastrophic never events or the kinds of medical mistakes that regulatory professionals agree should never occur in a hospital setting.
Wrong-site surgeries involve someone receiving a procedure on the wrong side or part of their body, often with catastrophic consequences. Have hospitals eliminated wrong-site procedures?
Wrong-site surgeries still occur every week
Despite improvements in technology and more training about surgical mistakes, wrong-site procedures still continue to occur at an alarming rate across the United States. According to one study, wrong-site surgeries occur approximately once every 113,000 surgeries. Another study found that, just in the United States, 25 to 52 wrong-site procedures occur each week.
Some experts estimate that this rate of occurrence means that the average hospital will host at least one of these never events every ten years, on average. Almost 3% of these procedures will prove fatal for the individual undergoing the operation, and many more will ultimately require extensive treatment to correct.
Those hurt by surgical mistakes may require far more time off of work and additional operations. In some cases, they may never fully recover, such as when a surgeon removes a healthy kidney instead of the failing one.
Those hurt by a surgeon have legal protection
Yes, there is risk inherent in any surgery, and you accept the potential for issues outside of the control of those providing your care. However, that does not excuse the kind of gross negligence necessary for a surgeon to perform a procedure on the wrong part of your body.
Especially if you had to mark your body before going under anesthesia, you should be able to rely on the professionals managing your care the verify that they performed the right procedure on the right part of your body. Patience and surviving family members affected by wrong-site surgeries may have grounds for a medical malpractice claim against the surgeon or facility involved in the procedure.
Learning more about surgical malpractice like wrong-site surgery can help you seek justice if it affects your family.