Wrong site surgery takes place when a surgeon operates on the wrong part of a patient’s body, performs the wrong procedure, or performs on the wrong person. Despite protocols to prevent it, wrong site surgery happens more often than you may think. For example, a doctor may perform a hip replacement when a knee replacement was required. If you or a loved one has been a victim of wrong site surgery, you may have a medical malpractice claim against the surgeon and possibly against the hospital where the surgery took place as well.
According to the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO), 76 percent of wrong site surgeries were surgeries performed on the wrong body part. The other 24 percent were split between operations using the wrong procedure and operations on the wrong person. Researchers from Johns Hopkins found that physicians throughout the United States may operate on the wrong body part as many as 20 times each week.
When a doctor operates on the wrong body part, the consequences can vary. Consider the following example. A doctor was supposed to remove a patient’s diseased left kidney but ends up removing the healthy right kidney. In such a scenario, the patient would be left with no healthy kidney, and the consequences would be devastating. In less life-threatening situations, a patient will still need an additional surgery to correct the wrong site error. Additional procedures or treatment may also be needed to correct any new problems created by the surgeon’s mistake.
Under Maryland law, an injured patient will have a medical malpractice claim if the doctor’s mistake was the direct cause of the patient’s harm. Specifically, medical malpractice takes place when a doctor fails to use the level of care that another doctor in the same specialty would have used in the same situation, causing harm to the patient. To win in a medical malpractice claim, the patient must establish that the doctor owed the patient a duty of care, the doctor breached their duty of care to the patient by deviating from the degree of skill that has been accepted as appropriate in the doctor’s area of practice, and the doctor’s breach was the direct cause of the patient’s resulting injuries.
A victim of medical malpractice may be able to recover a variety of damages in Maryland, including medical expenses, rehabilitation costs, lost income and benefits, pain and suffering, emotional distress, and disability. The compensation can come through a settlement or through a jury award.
Surgery is daunting enough without having to think about what could go wrong. If you or someone close to you has been a victim of a wrong site surgery, it is important to consult a seasoned Baltimore surgical error attorney. We understand the physical, psychological, and emotional toll that wrong site surgery can have on a patient, which is why we are committed to pursuing the compensation you deserve for your harm. To get a free evaluation of your case, you can call 410-889-1850 or contact us online.
More Blog Posts: