Imagine waking up from surgery to find the surgeon removed the wrong body part or organ. Or imagine waking up to find that the surgeon performed the correct procedure, but on the left leg instead of your injured right leg.
If you’re reading this page, you may not have to imagine. It might be a reality for you or someone you love. In fact, a Johns Hopkins study in 2012 found that this surgical “never-event” – so named because it should never happen – occurs 20 times every week in the United States.
Victims of wrong body part surgeries face not only the consequences of the surgery itself, but the prospect of additional medical treatment or surgery. After all, they’ll likely require another surgery to remove the right part or organ or to perform a procedure on the right part of the body.
Fortunately, victims have the option of filing a medical malpractice lawsuit against the negligent doctor. This can compensate the victim for the damages related to this inexcusable surgical error.
Why do wrong site surgeries happen?
Wrong site or wrong body part surgeries should never happen. Many are the result of carelessness on the part of the surgeon and surgical team.
Such carelessness may take the form of poor communication. The surgeon might fail to verify with the surgical team the type of procedure and the site of the procedure prior to starting. This is why surgeons should always take a “timeout” before the surgery to review the procedure.
Below are some other possible causes of these surgical mistakes.
- Confusion over markings (e.g., whether a marking means to operate on the marked site or avoid the marked site)
- Surgeon fatigue
- Poor nurses’ notes
- And more
When a surgeon makes an error of this magnitude, he has violated the standard of care he owes to his patient. He may be liable for the damages that result.
The Rights of a Patient Following a Wrong Body Part Surgery
Patients might face emotional trauma because of the wrong site surgery. For example, losing a single leg for a medical reason can be devastating enough for a lot of patients. But losing the other leg because of a careless surgical error can compound the trauma the patient experiences.
Even when the error isn’t catastrophic, it can still be financially costly, as well as time-consuming. It often requires a patient to take days off of work and therefore lose wages. As such, a patient who has been the victim of a wrong site surgery has the right to seek recovery for the damages he suffered. If a wrong site surgery led to patient death, the family members can file a wrongful death claim.
Patients in Pennsylvania must file medical malpractice claims within two years of the date of the incident. Failure to do so could bar the victim or survivors from recovering damages in a lawsuit. So act quickly to start collecting evidence and taking the legal steps necessary to file your lawsuit.
Get Help at Cordisco & Saile LLC
If you’re thinking about filing a claim for damages against your surgeon or the hospital where your surgery took place, you don’t have to do it alone. At Cordisco & Saile LLC, we will meet with you to review the circumstances of your case and advise you on the next steps to take. We can help you collect the right evidence, build your case, and take the necessary steps and file the necessary paperwork to pursue your lawsuit.