Slate’s Law Blog

Wrong-Site Surgery and Surgical Errors

Surgical Errors in New Mexico

Have you recently undergone surgery as a result of an emergency medical situation or following plans to have an operation under the terms of what is sometimes known as elective surgery? Regardless of the conditions under which you had an operation, you should be able to feel secure in believing that your surgeon will not make a critical error that results in a “never event,” or a surgical event that should never happen because of the severity and likelihood for patient harm. Yet surgical errors occur more frequently than many patients in New Mexico expect, and the results can be devastating. A recent wrong-site surgery reported in Medscape highlights the seriousness of wrong-site surgery errors and the need for injured patients to speak with a lawyer about filing a medical malpractice lawsuit.

Our Santa Fe medical malpractice attorneys want to tell you about the recent example of wrong-site surgery and to discuss your options for seeking financial compensation through a medical malpractice claim.

Surgical Errors: What is Wrong-Site Surgery?

There are many different types of surgical errors, including mistakes that involve leaving a foreign object in a patient’s body after surgery (such as a sponge or a medical tool), performing an operation on the wrong patient, or performing the wrong operation altogether. One frequent type of surgical error is wrong-site surgery, where a surgeon performs the correct operation but on the wrong part of the patient’s body. In other words, the surgeon performs the operation on the wrong site of the patient, thus the name wrong-site surgery.

All of these examples of surgical mistakes are known as “never events,” which the National Quality Forum defines as “errors in medical care that are clearly identifiable, preventable, and serious in their consequences for patients, and that indicate a real problem in the safety and credibility of a health care facility.” When a never event occurs in surgery or any other aspect of health care, it is critical for the patient or her surviving family members to hold the negligent medical professional accountable.

Recent Case Example of Wrong-Site Surgery

The article in Medscape discusses a recent wrong-site surgery that was entirely preventable. According to the article, a surgeon was supposed to operate on a patient’s left testicle but ended up marking and operating on his right testicle instead by mistake. Part-way through the surgery, the surgeon realized the mistake he had made and then proceeded to operate on the left testicle, performing a varicocelectomy on both testicles.

Other examples of wrong-site surgeries include operating on the wrong limb (such as the right arm or leg instead of the left arm or leg, or vice versa) or operating on the wrong organ (such as the left kidney instead of the right kidney or vice versa).

If you or someone you love sustained an injury as a result of wrong-site surgery, you may be able to seek a variety of compensatory damages by filing a medical malpractice lawsuit against the responsible surgeon.

Contact Our New Mexico Medical Malpractice Attorneys

To learn more about filing a medical negligence claim after a wrong-site surgery, it is essential to get in touch with one of our New Mexico medical malpractice attorneys as soon as possible. Contact Slate Stern Law today to learn more about how we can assist you.