Study Finds Surgical Mistakes Despite Safety Protocols

According to a study in the Archives of Surgery, as reported in the the New York Times October 19, 2010 edition, from 2002 through mid-2008 in Colorado, surgeons reported an astounding 25 operations on the wrong patient, and 107 surgical procedures on the wrong body part. The data was drawn from an insurance database in Colorado that involved 6,000 physicians.

Examples of the medical malpractice committed include the most egregious case, in which a chest tube was inserted into the wrong lung, which was healthy, causing the lung to collapse and the patient to die. Surgeons also operated on the wrong side of the brain, removed a healthy ovary and performed surgery on the wrong hand, elbow, knee and eye.

Dr. Philip F. Stahel, chief of orthopedics at the Denver Health Medical Center, noted that: “These data are shocking…These are catastrophic events that are unacceptable. They have been termed a never event–because they should never happen.”

In our practice, we have represented clients who had surgical instruments left in their chests, and more recently, a client who suffered unnecessary surgery when his doctor was “out sick” the day of the procedure, and the doctor’s partner operated on the wrong side. He was then forced to undergo reconstructive surgery, as well as surgery on the correct body part. Needless to say, in that case, the insurance company and doctor decided that the sensible decision was to settle the case before a jury was given the opportunity to decide the amount of damages.

If you or a loved one are the victim of medical malpractice, suffer injuries from a defective product or medication, or sustain injuries in any type of accident, contact the Westchester County Medical Malpractice Attorneys at The Law Office Of Mark A. Siesel online or toll free at 888-761-7633 for a free consultation with an experienced trial attorney to discuss your case.