Surgeon Accused of Surgical Error, Removes Kidney from Wrong Patient
Published on February 16, 2017
Massachusetts health authorities are investigating a recent surgical error allegation that a surgeon operated on and removed a kidney from the wrong patient at St. Vincent Hospital in Worcester. Tenet Health, which owns St. Vincent, released a statement saying the patient misidentification took place outside of their hospital, adding that their staff followed proper protocols in preparing for and performing the surgery. However, Tenet Health did not elaborate on how this terrifying mistake happened.
Cases like this are known as “never events.” Never events are medical mistakes that should never happen and indicates serious concern for patient safety at a particular hospital or with a particular doctor. These surgical errors occur in about one in every 112,000 surgical procedures, which means a single hospital could have this type of error happen every five to 10 years.
Because of this, The Joint Commission encourages hospitals to implement new processes and procedures to prevent surgical errors and never events from happening. One process includes having the OR staff take a “timeout” just before starting surgery to confirm that the correct person is being operated on for the correct procedure in the correct area. While timeouts are helpful, they don’t solve the problem.
Other steps include marking the site of surgery with ink before the patient goes under anesthesia. That way, a patient could speak up if the site is marked incorrectly. Procedures have been in place for some time to count sponges, towels, or other surgical items to ensure no items are left inside a patient. However, new measures are being taken to avoid human error. Many hospitals are moving toward better systems, such as electronic bar codes on instruments and materials to ensure precise counts.
According to a report in the Harvard Business Review, an estimated 200,000 people died from complications or other postoperative issues last year. If you or someone you love has been injured or suffered a wrongful death due to a surgical error or medical mistake, contact Knapp & Roberts‘ medical malpractice attorneys in Arizona today for a free initial consultation, 480-991-7677.
At Knapp & Roberts,our Phoenix injury attorneys believe we can reduce the danger that these doctors pose to unsuspecting patients by making them face up to the damage they’ve caused. We fight tirelessly to ensure that the surgical error and medical malpractice victims we represent will have their day in court, and that justice will be served. We have a history of recovering millions of dollars in damages for our injured medical malpractice clients, and we will pursue a recovery for you with the same level of commitment that all of our clients have come to expect. Don’t delay. Call us today or fill out the Do I Have a Case form on our website and we will contact you shortly.
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