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Do Wrong-site Surgeries Really Happen?

Every day, thousands of people undergo invasive procedures in hospitals throughout Georgia and across the country. And while every type of medical intervention is associated with possible complications and side effects, many surgery-related injuries are entirely preventable. In fact, you may be surprised to learn that wrong-site surgery incidents continue to occur in operating rooms everywhere and incident rates are estimated to be considerably higher than currently documented figures suggest.

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality website provides a brief history of wrong-site surgeries and related medical mistakes. The medical industry refers to such incidents of medical negligence as never events because they are completely avoidable and should never happen. Even so, unfortunately, never events happen more often than many people guess. While it is estimated that wrong-site surgeries and other never events only occur in one out of every 112,000 operating room procedures, the actual number of incidents that happen every year is believed to be of much higher. It is also believed that current prevention and safety procedures fall short of protecting all patients against these types of incidents of medical negligence.

Communication issues between medical personnel prior to and during surgical procedures are a major factor in wrong-site surgery incidents. That is why universal protocols have been implemented mandating that surgeons and support staff take a timeout before performing invasive procedures. Many surgeons also take measures such as marking procedure sites before entering the operating room. However, it is widely understood that such safety measures are not enough to prevent all never events from happening.

If you or a loved one were subjected to a preventable injury during any stage of a medical procedure, you may have serious questions or concerns about your rights as a patient. The information provided here is intended to be informative, but cannot be used as legal counsel.

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