Wrong-Site Surgery Costs Woman Healthy Organ; Damaged One Left Inside HerSurgery
Diagnosed with a likely dermoid cyst, a usually benign growth, on her left ovary, a thirty-one year old woman underwent surgery to remove the cyst. Weeks after the surgery, she still had the same pain and tests revealed that her healthy right ovary was actually removed while the large cyst still remained on her left ovary. In fact, she even had two post-surgery follow-up appointments and the operating physician did not say anything until the pain came back.
She alleges the wrong-site surgery, and also that the surgeon continued to hide the mistake in those two appointments. Now she is faced with the proposition of losing her left ovary to take care of the large cyst.
While this sounds like a completely avoidable mistake-and it is-it is not necessarily a rare mistake. The nonprofit organization called the Joint Commissions Center for Transforming Healthcare predicts that about forty surgeries per week are incorrectly performed. This means that it is either on the wrong patient, the wrong procedure, or on the wrong body part. That equates to over two-thousand wrong-site surgeries a year!
There are many cases of wrong-site surgery littered throughout case-law and our judicial system as I write this post. In many studies, the main culprit appears to be miscommunication or lack of communication. Now there are many protocols that are in place to help identify the area to be operated on. Some of these protocols even include having the surgeon and doctor patient speak before going under, and the area being marked beforehand. For example, if a patient is going to have their right ACL operated in their knee, before going under general anesthesia, the surgeon would have the patient mark it with a marker.
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