When a doctor performs surgery on the wrong part of the body or performs the wrong procedure, it is known as wrong-site surgery. This type of surgical error more common that Chicago patients might think, and it is a major cause for medical malpractice lawsuits. Wrong-site surgery happens when health care providers fail to communicate properly according to best practices. Recent data from the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority suggest that the number of wrong-site surgeries is not going down.
The lack of decline in wrong-site surgery may have less to do with lack of proper procedure and more to do with surgeons or nurses failing to follow said procedure. The PPSA report showed that the most common reason for wrong-site surgery was misinformation, whether it was on the operating room schedule, in the patient's medical file or with the patient's informed consent documents. Failed communication happened on both a written and verbal level.
When surgeons fail to mark the surgical site or initial next to their marking, they are often failing to follow best practices for ensuring a safe outcome. This may put the patient at risk of serious injury and put the surgeon at risk for a malpractice lawsuit. All verbal communication should be confirmed with active, rather than passive, responses, and any questions or discrepancies held by any member of the operating team should be brought up as soon as possible.
When considering a medical malpractice lawsuit, it may be helpful to consult with a lawyer. A medical malpractice lawyer can assist with paperwork as well as create legal strategy. A direct line of causation must be drawn and proven in order for a case to stand up in court, and a lawyer may be able to help a client to develop this argument. A lawyer may also be able to assist with out-of-court settlement and in-court representation.
Source: aaos.org, "Patient safety means patients first", James H. Herndon, September 10, 2014