What to Know About Wrong Site Surgery
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    What is Wrong Site Surgery?

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    Wrong site surgery refers to any surgical procedure performed on the wrong site of the body, the wrong patient, or the wrong procedure altogether. It encompasses several types of errors, including:

    • Wrong Site: This occurs when surgery is conducted on the incorrect part of the body, such as the left knee instead of the right knee.
    • Wrong Procedure: This happens when a different surgical procedure is performed from the one intended. For instance, a patient scheduled for a biopsy might mistakenly receive a more invasive surgical intervention.
    • Wrong Side: This is a specific subtype of wrong site surgery where the operation is performed on the correct anatomical structure but on the wrong side of the body. For instance, amputating the left leg instead of the right leg.
    • Wrong Patient: In rare but severe cases, a surgery intended for one patient is performed on another due to identification errors.

    Such errors, though relatively rare, can have severe, even life-threatening consequences for patients. They can lead to unnecessary pain, additional surgeries, prolonged recovery times, and significant psychological trauma. For healthcare providers and institutions, WSS represents a critical failure in patient care, leading to loss of trust, legal repercussions, and increased healthcare costs.

    Who Is Legally Responsible For Wrong Site Surgery?

    Determining liability in such cases involves examining the roles and responsibilities of various parties involved in the surgical process.

    • Surgeons: Surgeons are primarily responsible for performing the correct surgical procedure on the right site and patient. They are expected to verify all preoperative details, including the surgical site, patient identity, and procedure.
    • Medical Teams: Nurses, anesthesiologists, and other operating room staff share the responsibility for verifying patient information and surgical details. They must actively participate in safety protocols, such as time-outs and surgical checklists.
    • Healthcare Institutions: Hospitals and surgical centers can be held liable for systemic failures that contribute to WSS. This includes inadequate training, lack of proper protocols, and insufficient staffing.

    A thorough investigation of each case is necessary to determine the specific causes and assign liability appropriately. The overarching goal is to enhance patient safety and prevent such errors through improved protocols, training, and accountability measures.

    Causes of Wrong Site Surgery

    Many different factors can contribute to wrong site surgery occuring, including:

    • verbal miscommunications or misunderstandings between healthcare providers
    • written miscommunication
    • failure in handover, where crucial details about the patient’s surgery might be lost or miscommunicated
    • wrong labels on specimens
    • errors in imaging, for example, a left-side image labeled as right-side leading to a wrong-side surgery
    • inadequate training
    • overcrowded and busy operating rooms
    • inadequate safety protocols
    • high patient volume
    • distractions and interruptions:
    • extended working hours
    • burnout of staff

    Get Help by Contacting a Chicago Medical Malpractice Attorney Today

    If you or a loved one has been impacted by wrong site surgery, you don’t have to face this alone. The consequences of such a serious medical error can be overwhelming, but there is help available. At Clifford Law, our Chicago med mal lawyers understand the gravity of these situations and are dedicated to advocating for your rights.

    Contact Clifford Law at (312) 899-9090 for a free, no-obligation consultation.

    Our experienced legal team will listen to your story, assess your case, and discuss your options. We are here to support you through this difficult time and help you seek the justice and compensation you deserve. Don’t wait – contact Clifford Law today to take the first step towards healing and resolution.

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