A study performed by the Institute of Medicine found that 45,000-98,000 Americans die each year due to medical mistakes. Additionally, many more suffer from devastating injuries. One source of these medical mistakes is surgical errors. Because of the many things that go into a surgery, surgical errors are much more prevalent than many people would like to believe. A common type of surgical error is wrong person surgery.
As unbelievable as it sounds, wrong person surgery does happen. With this type of surgical mistake, a surgical team performs a preplanned surgery on the wrong patient. Although doctors and nurses go through many years of education and training in order to help their patients, they blame things like miscommunication, fatigue, and inexperience when surgical errors like wrong person surgery occur.
There are several dangers that arise due to wrong patient surgery. First, one problem with wrong person surgery is that it harms multiple people. Not only does the person who received the surgery suffer, but the person who does not get the necessary surgery can be damaged due to a delay in treatment.
Additionally, some surgeries make changes to your body that are irreparable or irreversible. For instance, if person A needs his left leg removed due to a deadly infection, but person B instead receives the surgery, then person B’s perfectly healthy left leg may be removed due to a tragic mistake. Not only does person B lose a leg, but person A’s infection may spread to other parts of his body during the delay.
Wrong patient surgery is unacceptable. Doctors and nurses should become familiar with a patient and his or her file so that they are absolutely sure of each operation that they need to perform on each person. However, mistakes like wrong person surgery can indicate not only a careless surgical team, but also a hospital that does not have a good management or oversight system. Both of these are completely preventable accidents that can have devastating consequences.
If you have suffered from a wrong person surgery, whether you are the recipient or the patient who should have received the procedure, you should fight back against the grievous mistake.