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Wrong Site Surgery

Ocala Attorneys Skilled in Health Care Negligence Claims

A wrong site surgery happens when a surgeon operates on the wrong part of a person's body. This is also called a "never event" because it should never happen. Unfortunately, it does happen more commonly than you might imagine. Between 1995 and 2000, these types of errors made up 13.4% of the incidents reviewed by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations of the United States. While many of the patients who experienced a wrong site surgery only suffered temporary injuries, a substantial percentage suffered a permanent injury, and another small percentage died. If you have been harmed by a wrong site surgery, the experienced Ocala medical malpractice attorneys at the Dean Law Firm may be able to assist.

Understanding Harm Caused by a Wrong Site Surgery

On average, a wrong site surgery happens in each hospital every five to 10 years. Spine surgeons are the most likely to report that a wrong site surgery was performed. However, there has been a reported case in which a neurosurgeon performed surgery on the wrong side of the brain, and there was another case in which a doctor learning the ropes skipped a pre-op checklist, so the surgeon cut into the incorrect side of a patient's head. There have been cases involving the improper removal of a fallopian tube, as well as many other devastating incidents.

Usually, several small errors lead up to a wrong site surgery. These may include distractions, inconsistent site marking, errors in booking, and errors in verification. Surgeons and the facilities that they use are supposed to take preventative measures to avoid performing a wrong site surgery, but preventative measures are not always taken, and even if they are, things may go wrong. A significant number of wrong site surgeries have permanent consequences or result in a serious health condition. Often, the patient suffers significant pain, and they may also experience an inability to have children or a need for lifelong medical equipment as a result of a wrong site surgery.

If you are harmed by a wrong site surgery, you will need to establish medical malpractice to recover damages. Generally, medical malpractice exists when there is a deviation from the professional standard of care, and as a result of the deviation, harm is caused to the patient. The critical inquiry is whether a reasonable health care professional of the same type would do the same thing, given the same circumstances. The Joint Commission has developed a Universal Protocol for Preventing Wrong Site, Wrong Procedure, and Wrong Person Surgery. Some hospitals and organizations have adopted the system, and studies suggest that using this Protocol reduces errors.

Usually, you will need to retain an expert on wrong site surgery in order to establish that the surgical team in your case did something wrong. The expert is only allowed to testify if certain conditions are met. Among other things, if they present a theory, they must show that it has been tested and subjected to peer review, has a low error rate, and is accepted within the scientific community. At this time, an expert may only give testimony about the prevailing standard of care in a medical malpractice action if they have practiced in the same area as the defendant doctor. Damages that may be available based on liability for a wrong site surgery will vary. They may include medical bills, hospital bills, pain and suffering, household services, out-of-pocket costs, disfigurement, scarring, mental anguish, and other losses that flow from the wrong site surgery. In a case in which there has been an amputation, and prosthetics are necessary, for example, you may be able to recover compensation for the costs of the prosthetics and therapy necessary to use the prosthetic limb properly.

Seek Assistance from a Medical Malpractice Lawyer in the Ocala Area

At the Dean Law Firm, our surgical negligence attorneys can represent you in a medical malpractice case involving a wrong site surgery. Contact us online or at 352-387-8700 for a free appointment with an Ocala lawyer. We also serve patients who have been subjected to medical malpractice in Crystal River, The Villages, and other areas of Citrus, Levy, Sumter, Marion, and Lake Counties.