When you agree to undergo surgery, you are putting your full faith and trust in the surgeon, doctors and nurses who will be caring for you before, during and after the ordeal. While the majority of surgeries are successful, sometimes mistakes are made. One of the most high-profile types of accidents that can happen during surgery is having an operation or surgery occur in the wrong spot.
Preventing Wrong Site Surgery in New Jersey
Unfortunately, wrong site surgery (WSS) is as old as surgery itself. According to a 2011 study by the Joint Commission Center for Transforming Healthcare, wrong-site surgeries occur as many as 40 times per week in the United States. The average hospital stands the chance of hosting a wrong site surgery every 5 to 10 years. Wrong-site surgeries fall into three general categories: incorrect side (for example, left kidney instead of right), correct side but incorrect location (wrong finger on the correct hand), correct side and correct location but incorrect procedure. Wrong-site surgery, no matter what kind, is always a tragic and potentially life-threatening error.
The most common causes of wrong site surgery are often easily preventable oversights or labeling errors. Although the Joint Commission’s Universal Protocol has done much to lower the incidence of wrong-site surgery, these traumatic mistakes are still all-too common.
Health care organizations recognize the risks that wrong site surgeries present, and they have created multiple strategies to help prevent this tragedy from occurring. One of the most important steps to take is to validate the information about the pending surgery the night before to prevent any miscommunication. Before starting the operation, all documents should be reviewed to ensure the information matches up. It’s recommended that surgeons be required to sign or mark documents describing the procedure before starting surgery. Hospitals should train all their staff members to use a surgical checklist which can help prevent errors. Finally, when a wrong-site surgery does occur, share the experience in a way that instructs everyone. The level of care a hospital, surgeon or doctor exercises in preventing these accidents may be the difference between a medical malpractice claim and an honest mistake.
Contact New Jersey’s Medical Malpractice Attorneys at Andres & Berger
If you or a loved one has been injured by a wrong site surgery, then it’s important to hire a lawyer who can determine whether you have grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit or not. Contact the law offices of Andres & Berger at 856-437-4080 or stop by the office at 264 Kings Highway East in Haddonfield, New Jersey. Or, leave your contact information online to hear back from the attorneys at Andres & Berger about your case.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.