Every day, thousands of people all across the United States turn to their doctors and surgeons for help in repairing a number of issues. Some of these people require surgeries for conditions that are life threatening, some surgeries are a form of preventative care, and some of these surgeries are elective. Regardless of the reason for the surgery it is important to understand that all surgeries come with risks, and that even the most highly trained surgeon can make mistakes.
One issue that can arise when discussing surgical procedures is wrong patient surgery. This is a very serious problem that is a type of medical malpractice. As the name suggests, wrong patient surgery is when a surgical procedure is done on the incorrect patient. This can be enormously dangerous and can yield complications that can be catastrophic or deadly.
If you or someone you know has suffered needlessly because of a wrong patient surgery, it is important to understand that you do have legal rights, and you should speak with a qualified personal injury attorney who specializes in the area of medical malpractice as soon as possible.
Wrong patient surgeries can happen for several different reasons, most commonly due to negligence of, or a mistake on the part of, a doctor, nurse, or another form of medical professional. A recent report that was published by the Institute of Medicine (IOM), found that wrong patient surgery is typically a result of the following: a miscommunication amongst the members of the surgery team, hospital personnel, or even the patient; atypical emergency situations that arise in the hospital or time constraints; a preoperative process for verification that is lacking or nonexistent; a lack of control and policies in place by the hospital; and various other types of interference.
The consequences that come with a wrong patient surgery can be very serious and can include issues such as infection from a medical procedure that was invasive or unnecessary; a loss of an internal organ or limb; scarring; disfigurement; and even death. When these consequences result, the patient can become devastated both emotionally and physically.
When surgery is performed on the incorrect patient, compensation can be awarded by filing a malpractice suit. There are many different ways to proceed with such a case including filing on the ground of medical negligence, battery, or lack of informed consent. Damages can be sought for medical bills (past, present, and future related to the wrong patient surgery), pain, suffering, emotional harm, a loss of income, and disfigurement. In some cases, punitive damages can be sought on top of the other damages. This is done as a way to punish those responsible for the harm, in an effort to deter future similar acts from taking place.
A wrong patient surgery can be a terribly traumatic event. Not only is it scary to think that such a major mistake was made, it can be something the patient has to live with for the rest of his or her life, and …