While wrong-site surgery is uncommon, it does occur and it is one medical malpractice error that should simply never happen. Wrong-site surgery is the result of:
- Poor presurgical planning
- Failure of the physician to read the patient's medical chart or to exercise proper care due to fatigue
- A lack of communication between the physician and the patient and among the surgical staff
When wrong-site surgery has occurred, the possibility of a medical malpractice claim is high. A recent study found that 84 percent of wrong-site orthopedic surgeries resulted in claims, in contrast to cases involving other types of orthopedic surgical errors in which patients received compensation in only 30 percent of the cases.
Compensation in Missouri Wrong-Site Surgery Cases
The amount of compensation patients received was dependent upon the extent of injuries. If a wrong-site surgery did not result in permanent injury and the correct procedure could still be done without any bad effects, the award for a negligence claim was minimal. A permanent injury, however, can lead to large damage awards.
How to Avoid Kansas City Wrong-Site Surgeries
Wrong-site surgery is rarely defensible in court. It must be avoided. The Joint Commission and the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons have endorsed the use of the Universal Protocol and there is widespread consensus that the Universal Protocol would be effective in reducing wrong-site surgeries if it was implemented. However, wrong-site surgeries continue to occur.
Methods proposed to eliminate wrong-site surgery include:
- Surgical staff using checklists to ensure that consent forms are signed; that medical histories are documented and accurate; and that medical devices, blood and other products to be used in surgery are present and correctly matched to the patient
- Having the staff take a "timeout" before the procedure to communicate among themselves to ensure they have the correct patient and that everyone understands the procedure to be undertaken.
- Having the surgeon and the patient review the patient's records together and mark and initial the intended site of surgery. The marking needs to be clearly visible and incapable of being overlooked or erased.
The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons is committed to the elimination of this and other types of surgical error and continues to work with hospitals across the nation to find additional ways to minimize harm to patients.
Contact a Kansas City Wrong-Site Surgery Attorney
Since we opened our doors in 1984, the attorneys at the Kansas City law firm of Humphrey, Farrington & McClain have recovered more than $1 billion on behalf of our clients. We work on a contingency fee basis and never charge our medical malpractice clients fees unless they recover compensation for their injuries. Contact our firm online or call 888-353-0491 to discuss your needs and goals with one of our attorneys.