Home 5 News and Press 5 Wrong Site Surgery Is a Horrendous Shock

Wrong Site Surgery Is a Horrendous Shock

Waking up after surgery to remove a testicle only to find your foot has been amputated is not only a shock, but medical malpractice wrong site surgery.

To say that wrong site medical surgery is a horrendous shock would be a major understatement. However, this does happen, and when bad things like this do take place, someone has to be accountable for their actions. Wrong site surgery is the most preventable form of med mal, largely because if the medical professional just paid attention to what they were doing, they would not do surgery on the wrong body part. How hard is it to double-check what you are supposed to be operating on?

Seen from the perspective of the victim/patient, wrong site surgery is sloppy and shows a special kind of inattention to details you never want to find in a doctor or the attending staff. It is something no one ever wants to experience, and if they do, it is something they want to talk to an injury lawyer about.

Often, this kind of medical mistake comes with an explanation, but frankly, the explanation isn’t worth much. The fact is this kind of error should never happen in any hospital. And don’t just think that it’s orthopedic surgeons that make this mistake. That couldn’t be further from the truth. It happens in other surgical specialties as well. Take the case of the woman who had a brain tumor on the right side of her head, and the surgeon operated on the left side of her head. The outcome of that case was not good.

Does this kind of screw up happen a lot? Actually, yes, it does. If you want to do some reading about it, look for the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Hospitals report that ranked wrong site surgery as the second most frequent reported event from 1995 to 2005. In other words, out of 3,548 events, 455 of them ended up being wrong site surgery. Scary stuff, isn’t it?

Add one more thing to these numbers, the revelation that they were self-reported and you get the idea that the problem could be even larger than stated. Obviously, negligence is a regular visitor to hospitals and unsuspecting patients. Whatever happened to check lists being pored over before surgery? This isn’t rocket science, and double-checking a list as a precaution may save a patient the devastation of wrong site surgery. It takes so little to make such a big difference.

Charlie Donahue is a New Hampshire personal injury lawyer located in Keene. Donahue handles injury cases in New Hampshire and across the United States. To learn more about New Hampshire injury attorney, Charlie Donahue, visit

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