The prevalence of wrong-site surgeries

On Behalf of | Oct 21, 2021 | Medical Malpractice

Surgery is often a stressful experience for patients, especially when the operation is medically urgent. Waking up to realize the procedure was performed on the wrong body part or — perhaps even worse — the wrong patient altogether can be devastating. Wrong-site surgeries are not as rare as some patients in Delaware might believe, and lack of awareness among surgeons might be a contributing factor. 

What is a wrong site surgery? 

A wrong-site surgery is considered to be a sentinel event, which is the worst type of medical error. In 2013 alone, 41% of wrong-site surgery victims suffered permanent injuries, while another nearly 3% died. A wrong-site surgery is one that takes place on the wrong: 

  • Body part 
  • Side of the body 
  • Patient 

Are wrong-site surgeries really that common? 

A 2006 study determined that for every 112,994 surgeries performed in the United States, there is approximately one wrong-site surgery. At first glance this might not seem like a lot until one looks at how those numbers actually average out. Every week, there are as many as 52 wrong-site surgeries. Many surgeons still believe these types of errors are extremely rare and cannot happen to them, so they do not take the necessary precautions to prevent them. This ultimately leads to these errors still happening. 

Delaware patients deserve the utmost care and attention from their medical providers. When surgeons fail to take necessary safety precautions and cause harm through wrong-site surgery, the victims often go on to suffer lifelong consequences. Holding negligent medical professionals responsible for their actions through a medical malpractice suit can help victims recover compensation for their damages while also potentially affecting real change in certain medical facilities.