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Medical Errors Involving Amputation


Amputation and Wrong Site Surgery

An amputation can be partial, such as losing the lower portion of the leg, only; or total, meaning the loss of the entire leg. Following an amputation, amputees are likely to need the assistance of medical equipment, such as a wheelchair or prosthetics. These devices can be expensive and difficult to adapt to – often requiring major lifestyle changes. Many amputees are unable to return to their old jobs and must embark on a totally new career. This may require extensive retraining.

Amputations can occur unintentionally, as a result of auto accidents, work or construction accidents, and faulty products or equipment. Amputations may be performed intentionally in cases where a patient has advanced cancer, severe infection, gangrene, or diabetes. On rare occasions, a surgeon may accidentally amputate the wrong limb. This is a particularly tragic occurrence because the patient will have to undergo another amputation surgery and will end up losing two limbs instead of one.

If you or a family member has suffered a surgical mistake, significant compensation is deserved. To ensure you get a settlement worthy of the losses you and your family have suffered, you’ll need the representation of an experienced Kansas City medical malpractice attorney. The Kansas City, Missouri law office of Norton & Spencer, P.C. has been successfully representing area medical malpractice victims for more than five decades.

Let us put our experience to work on your claim. To get started on your recovery, call 866-251-5423 for a free case evaluation.

Wrong-Site Surgery

Surgery is an area of healthcare where costly errors and mistakes may unfortunately occur. One example of this is referred to as a “wrong-site surgery” (WSS). Like amputating the wrong limb, WSS occurs when a procedure is performed on the wrong body part, when the wrong procedure is performed, or is performed on the wrong patient. For instance, a surgeon removes someone’s right kidney when they were supposed to remove the left. Or, a patient goes into the hospital for an appendectomy and wakes up with a kidney missing.

Incidents of WSS are widely attributed to the absence of a documented or standard protocol for verifying the site for surgery, or a failure to adhere to the provisions of an established system. The Joint Commission, a United States-based nonprofit organization that accredits more than 21,000 U.S. healthcare organizations and programs, conducted causal analysis that found the three leading factors leading to WSS were:

  • Errors in communication
  • A failure to comply with procedure
  • Failures in leadership (management)
  • Time-sensitive procedures in emergency situations
  • Situations involving multiple procedures conducted by multiple surgeons
  • Among very obese patients
  • Usage of new or rarely used types of equipment or tools
  • Changing patient’s rooms

Universal Protocol for Malpractice Prevention

The Universal Protocol for Prevention of Wrong Site, Wrong Procedure, and Wrong Person Surgery was established formally by the Joint Commission several years ago. To summarize, it was implemented for usage prior to beginning invasive care in settings which extend beyond just operating rooms. It is a formal process or routine that is performed prior to procedures that verify the surgical site before the patient is sedated. The three core elements are:

  • Verifying prior to operating
  • Preoperative site identification and marking
  • Conducting a “time-out”
    • A time out involves all members of the team verifying: patient identity, site of procedure, and procedure to be done

Contact Our Missouri Medical Malpractice Attorneys Today

Although rare, incidences of major medical malpractice such as WSS do occur. When they do, they generally have devastating consequences for the patient and their loved ones. In such cases, it is critical that the victim is represented by truly seasoned legal counsel. The law firm of Norton & Spencer, P.C. has been advocating for those seeking justice in claims of medical negligence for over 60 years. We pursue these cases on a contingency basis, meaning there is no “upfront” cost to you. For a free consultation, call our offices at 866-251-5423.

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