Valenzuela Law Firm, PA | Trial Attorney
Attorney Henry E. Valenzuela

What causes wrong-site surgery?

On Behalf of | May 30, 2023 | Medical Malpractice

Going under the knife for any reason is scary. Patients could rely on experienced and skilled surgeons or other medical practitioners guaranteeing a safe and smooth surgery. Still, these professionals are not immune from making mistakes.

Sometimes, procedures meant to make you feel better turn for the worse. These incidents could happen because mistakes might fall through the cracks in the health care provider’s operations. One of the most common errors is wrong-site surgeries. They happen when the procedure occurs on the wrong patient, body part or side.

A wide array of factors might affect surgery mistakes. The following could contribute to wrong-site procedures based on the stage of the process:

  • Administrative: The mistake could happen when a scheduler fails to indicate accurate and correct information in the request. A typo or misunderstanding could have grave repercussions.
  • Preoperation: Inconsistent medical records, wrong site markings and insufficient patient verification could lead to wrong-site surgery. This stage is crucial, requiring standard procedures to avoid complications.
  • During operation: The operation room should have no space for errors. However, confusion, distractions and miscommunication between involved practitioners could result in a surgical error. Additionally, site mark problems and documentation issues could mislead the operating team.
  • Organizational elements: Sometimes, the organization’s culture and operational standards could contribute to wrong-site surgery. The room for mistakes grows if the staff performs inconsistently and fails to voice safety concerns. Policy updates could address culture issues but are only effective if personnel consistently comply accordingly.

Fortunately, health care providers could follow process improvement methods to address these risk factors and lessen the chances of surgical mistakes.

Patient safety is the top priority

Among health care providers and organizations, the safety and welfare of patients are the top priorities. They could implement various improvements to prevent wrong-site surgeries for their patients and personnel. Doing so could also minimize the fear of surgical procedures and always ensure a quality standard of care.

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