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Causes of wrong-site procedures

Ohio patients who are considering surgery may wish to know more about wrong-site procedures. According to the Joint Commission, wrong-site surgery is ranked as the third highest sentinel event, which is an unexpected occurrence resulting in death or serious injury. Wrong-site surgery includes procedures performed on the wrong site or patient as well as performing the wrong operation.

The Joint commission has found that wrong-site surgeries are the result of procedural noncompliance, poor communication between staff and the patient, and inadequate leadership in the operation room. Other factors that could also cause a wrong-site surgery include poor organization, lack of information, excluding certain surgical members, failing to mark the surgery site clearly, incorrectly reviewing a patient's medical record and poor care planning.

Although wrong-site procedures are considered to be rare events, the Joint Commission and several other organizations have enacted protocols to prevent the possibility of such an occurrence. The protocols include clearly marking the site where the operation is to take place, verifying that all documents are available and correct, and checking one last time before a surgery that the correct procedure is being performed on the right patient and surgery site. In addition, state licensure boards have also begun to impose strict penalties on surgeons who perform a wrong-site surgery.

A patient that suffers harm as a result of a surgery or medication error may be due compensation. Filing a lawsuit in such circumstances can be intimidating for those who are unfamiliar with court proceedings and legal details. A consultation with a personal injury lawyer might help to clear up questions that patients or their families may have.

Source: ahrq.gov, "Wrong-Site Surgery: A Preventable Medical Error", Deborah F. Mulloy and Ronda G. Hughes, September 13, 2014

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