Medical errors involving patients who have had surgery on the wrong body part, undergone the incorrect procedure, or received an operation intended for another patient are almost impossible to imagine. Indeed, “wrong-side, wrong-procedure, wrong-patient errors” (WSPE’s) are known as “never events” – medical mistakes that should never occur under any circumstances and signal serious underlying safety problems.
Although WSPE’s are relatively rare, they do happen. In fact, they are common enough that the Joint Commission developed a mandatory quality standard called the Universal Protocol that applies to all accredited hospitals, ambulatory care, and office-based surgery facilities. The Universal Protocol – designed to ensure correct patient identity, correct scheduled procedure, and correct surgical site – consists of the following:
- Pre-procedure verification process
- Surgical site marking
- Surgical “time out” immediately prior to starting the procedure to correctly identify the patient, the procedure and the correct location including the correct side
Unfortunately, WSPE’s still occur. Errors can happen before the patient reaches the operating room, a timeout may be rushed or ineffective, and errors may occur during the procedure itself.
If you have been the victim of a WSPE, contact DBJ at 1-800-875-5972 for a free consultation. Our experienced legal team will retain the best medical experts and ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve for an event that “never” should have happened.
In one recent case, DBJ secured a $20 million verdict for the family of a 15-year-old boy whose doctor operated on the wrong side of his brain. In addition to the doctor who performed the operation, the jury also found Arkansas Children’s Hospital negligent for the surgery. The hospital’s nurses were not adequately prepared and administrators did not thoroughly investigate the surgical errors and promptly disclose them to the family. The jury’s award compensated the patient for his pain and suffering, future earnings, and the expenses for lifetime treatment.