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Elements in a wrong-site surgery

When Illinois residents go to the hospital for surgery, they trust that the procedure will go well. Sometimes, though, people might realize that their surgeon has operated on the wrong body part. In this situation, people usually want to understand why this error occurred.

A wrong-site surgery might occur for several reasons. According to Becker’s Healthcare, important documents, such as the surgical schedule and patient’s history, might sometimes get lost, or the anesthesia provider and surgeon might not have enough verification about a patient’s identity. Once a patient gets to the operating room, a member of the surgical team may not confirm the surgical site. Additionally, sometimes surgical staff may not read the documents with the patient’s name and procedure. Sometimes mistakes can happen when the surgery is first booked. Some of the information about the patient and the procedure may have been illegible or incorrect or people may have filled out the wrong form.

A wrong-site surgery might happen in several ways. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality says that a surgeon might perform a procedure on a limb on the right side of the body instead of the left. Someone may also perform the wrong procedure on the correct side of the body. Additionally, neurosurgeons may sometimes work on the incorrect level of a patient’s spine. Most of the time, better communication may have been able to prevent the error.

Although some people may worry about wrong-site surgeries, it is important to remember that this type of event does not happen often. One study found that for every 112,000 surgical procedures that took place in an operating room, only one was likely to be a wrong-site surgery. 


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