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Surgical errors: Operating on the wrong body part

Most hospitals here in Delaware and across the country have procedures in place to protect patients. However, when those policies and procedures are not followed, surgical errors can cause serious or permanent injuries. One surgical mistake that occurs more often than anyone would like to admit is operating on the wrong body part.

Some surgeons have removed healthy organs when they were supposed to remove diseased ones. The protocols surgeons are supposed to follow might be ignored for a variety of reasons, but it is the patient who pays the price if the surgeon is wrong. However, there are certain factors that increase the risk of a wrong site surgery that might have nothing to do with protocols.

Sometimes, more than one surgeon is in the operation room, which could cause confusion. If multiple procedures are being done at the same time on different parts and sides of the body, a mistake could be made. The surgeon could fail to mark the site prior to the procedure. In some cases, the patient is in an usual position due to obesity or a deformity. Any of these reasons, and more, could result in the wrong body part being operated on and/or removed.

These types of surgical errors are rarely without health consequences for the patient and often require at least one additional surgery to correct the problem. If the patient survives, he or she could be left with permanent and debilitating injuries. Delaware residents who have suffered such a fate -- or lost a loved one -- might consider filing a medical malpractice claim to help with current and future medical needs or other damages as appropriate. In addition, it might ensure that steps are taken to prevent the same type of error from occurring again.

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