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What causes wrong site surgery?

If a surgeon and his or her team are careful, wrong site surgery never needs to happen, but people in Illinois are still impacted by these types of mistakes from time to time. In an effort to understand why this is still happening despite advances in technology and modern medicine, it is worth looking at some of the top reasons. The factors are divided into two categories, known as process factors and system factors.

A common system factor is when a checklist is not made and no one takes the time to verify that the right surgery is being done on the right site. This can sometimes occur when members of the surgical team are excluded and the surgeon tries to do everything on his or her own. Additionally, this can happen if there is a strict time deadline and the team must work faster than normal, causing them to miss some important steps.

One of the biggest process factors, if there are two or more different surgeons working on the same job, is when they do not communicate well enough. They may assume that all team members know all of the facts when this is really not the case. Process factors can also come earlier than that, such as when the patient is not assessed properly or when adequate plans for care provision are not made.

Often, the key to avoiding wrong site surgery may be for the team to slow down and double check these areas. If you have suffered from a mistake like this, though, be sure that you know your legal options.

Source: NCBI, "Causes of Wrong-Site Surgeries" accessed Feb. 11, 2015

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