Wrong-Patient Surgery: A Very SERIOUS And VERY DANGEROUS


When a patient undergoes surgery, he or she expects to undergo the surgery they need.  However, there are times when a patient may negligently undergo a surgery that was scheduled to be performed on another patient.  While wrong patient surgery does not occur often, it nevertheless receives significant publicity when it does.

There can be significant physical and mental consequences of wrong patient surgery.  Those consequences can include:

  • Bowel injury
  • Disfigurement
  • Infection
  • Long-term disability
  • Loss of sensation
  • Negligent limb amputation
  • Negligent organ removal
  • Spinal injury
  • Wrongful death

In order for wrong-patient surgery to occur, an unusual set of conditions need to occur, such as:

  • Two patients who are undergoing similar procedures at the same time
  • Two patients who have the same name
  • A patient who is unable to communicate that an error is being made (the are unconscious, upset emotionally, or cannot speak English)

Not only do patients experience the physical and emotional consequences of wrong patient surgery, he or she will often experience significant medical expense, numerous corrective surgeries, nerve damage, internal bleeding, organ damage, scarring, or poor surgical results.  Additionally, long-term financial hardship can also result.

Claims for wrong patient surgery can be time-consuming and complex.  It is necessary to prove that the wrong patient surgery was due to medical negligence.  He or she may also need to show that the surgery violated informed consent requirements and that the surgery constituted a form of battery.  Patients may be able to seek compensation for medical expenses, disfigurement, lost wages, loss of earning capacity, emotional distress, and pain and suffering.  If the case is especially egregious, then the attorney may also request punitive damages.

But what do you think?  I would love to hear from you!  Leave a comment or I also welcome your phone call on my toll-free cell at 1-866-889-6882 or you can drop me an e-mail at jfisher@fishermalpracticelaw.com.  You are always welcome to request my FREE book, The Seven Deadly Mistakes of Malpractice Victims, at the home page of my website at www.protectingpatientrights.com.