Hospital In Trouble For Wrong-Leg Surgery

Hospitals, Surgery

Wrong site surgery occurs when a patient undergoes a surgery, but the procedure is performed on the wrong part of the body.  Such surgical errors are rare because of the extensive cross-checks in place meant to verify that the correct procedure is being done on the patient and on the correct time.

One woman in Florida experienced a wrong site surgery when she went to the hospital for a vascular graft in her left leg.  However the procedure was accidentally done on the right leg.  After the surgery was performed the surgeon who performed the procedure not only did not confess his mistake to the patient, but also told her that the surgery on her right leg was necessary.  The patient was asked to sign a consent form for the right leg after the surgery.

The patient had been admitted to the hospital for vascular disease, which was causing her pain in the left leg.  She provided consent for the vascular graft surgery on her left leg.  However, the procedure was scheduled for her right leg by surgical staff.  The night before the surgery the surgeon spoke to the patient about the left leg procedure and marked her left leg with pen.  The nurse supervisor in the operating room said that when she spoke with the patient prior to surgery the patient said she was having her left leg done but the nurse was still thinking the procedure was to be done on the patient’s right leg.

After the operation was underway on the wrong leg, the nurse anesthetist caught the error and told the surgeon to stop.  The surgeon then proceeded to operate on the patient’s left leg.  The next day after the surgery, when the surgeon spoke to the patient and her daughter, he explained that the surgery on her right leg was justified due to her history.  The surgeon explained that he performed the surgery on the patient’s left leg, which she had already given consent for, and asked for a signed consent for the procedure on the right leg.  The surgeon says that he never told the patient that the surgery was an error.

After learning of the error, the state health-care agency conducted an intensive survey of the hospital.  The staff involved in the surgery were surveyed, along with the patient, and operating-room management and hygiene procedures were observed.  Numerous problems were discovered.  These problems were found to pose a threat to the health a safety of patients.

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