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Understanding wrong site surgery and its causes

When you are scheduled for surgery, you trust the doctors who will perform the procedure are qualified and attentive. Nobody expects to emerge from surgery worse off than before, but unfortunately, this is sometimes the case. Wrong site surgery is one such example of a medical error that can have disastrous consequences for patients who happen to become victims.

According to the Patient Safety Network, errors such as these occur at a rate of only one in about 113,000, but this still puts a significant number of people at risk. The following are three of the most common causes for such medical errors. Victims of this and other medical errors may consider consulting with a legal representative. 

Failure to mark site

It is imperative that surgeons clearly mark the site of the body that will be operated on. If time is of the essence or the surgeon skips a step, however, this might be neglected. The consequences of such an oversight are potentially dire. A surgeon could accidentally operate on the incorrect side of the patient's body or on the wrong body part altogether without clear markings to provide guidance.

Mix up of patients

Operating on the wrong side of the body might seem like a nightmare—but it is, unbelievably, not the worst medical error that could occur. Surgeons might operate on the wrong patient altogether if they are not careful. If two patients are scheduled for the same or similar procedures, for example, one might erroneously receive the treatment intended for the other.

Multiple surgeons

If there are multiple surgeons handling an operation, the risk increases considerably that an error will be made—including operating on the wrong part of the body. If a procedure necessitates multiple surgeons, certain protocol should be in place to prevent such errors and ensure the operation is performed on the correct area of the patient’s body.

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