Serious medical errors known as “never events” should never occur with proper vigilance by medical staff and surgeons, but even the most egregious errors – including operating on the wrong side of a brain – still happen more often than you might think.
In 2010, the Journal of Neurosurgery identified 35 documented cases of wrong-side craniotomies from 1996 to 2009 in the United States, but this figure does not include the additional cases that were settled and never brought to the attention of state medical licensing boards, courts and news organizations.
“Wrong-site surgery is such an egregious system failure,” said Charles Kenney, the author of Transforming Health Care. “It’s so devastating, not only to the patient and the patient’s family, but also to the caregiving team because they have made about the worst mistake that they can make.”
Many organizations have adopted so-called “mistake-proofing” protocols and checklists to prevent such errors as wrong-site, and even wrong-person, surgeries. These systems generally include indelible marking of the operative site and verification with medical records, as well as a “timeout” to be held in which the surgeon explains the details of the operation and permits all members of the team to ask questions and raise any concerns or objections.
“The typical reaction in these cases is to assign blame,” said Kenney. “When that leads down the path to an individual, that’s wrong. These events are systems or process breakdowns.” Read the full story here:
It is frightening that surgeries continue to be performed on the wrong side of patients’ bodies. When the proper protocols are not put in place, or they aren’t followed, patient safety is thrown out the window and tragedies result.
If you have been injured due to medical malpractice, including wrong-site surgery, please call to investigate your matter fully. Crandall & Pera Law is available to help answer your questions and guide you in determining your next steps.