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Medical Malpractice – Wrong Site Surgery

Dec 16, 2015 | Doctor Errors

If you think that wrong site surgery is a thing of the past and such cases seldom happen in this high tech modern era, you are wrong. On the contrary such cases are on the rise and each week at least 40 cases are reported to the Joint Commission. The number nearly doubled between 2010 and 2014. For the most part, wrong site surgery is attributed to institutional failure and an entire medical team as well as the hospital staff can be held liable for negligence, according to New York medical malpractice lawyers.

What is res ipsa loquitor?

The above term is vital legal doctrine which is applied in cases of wrong site surgery. In such cases the plaintiff is not required to prove medical negligence. This means that if a medical institution has operated on your left eye when it was your right eye that had needed the intervention, then it is beyond doubt a case of medical negligence and the doctrine will automatically come into play here.

If this happens, liability is automatically attributed to the medical practitioner or to the hospital. In these cases the plaintiff does not have to prove liability. In such cases, the hospital or the doctor would most likely be willing to settle a claim.

Who are the liable parties?

Since wrong site surgery can potentially damage the reputation of the hospital and where the management could become involved in tedious lengthy litigations, most hospitals have proper checks and balances in place to make sure that such mistakes do not happen. However, if it does occur it becomes difficult to prove who was responsible.

If the hospital had proper checks and such a mishap occurs then the team of medical professionals who were present during the operation becomes liable. This includes doctors, anaesthesiologists, nurses and any other medical staff present during the operation. Even the prep staff are involved in the litigation since it is their responsibility to provide the doctors with proper information.

However, hospitals cannot escape litigation completely. The severity of the liability depends on two factors, its relationship with the medical practitioner and state laws. Many doctors rent hospital rooms for surgeries but they are not employed by the hospitals. In such cases the hospitals might claim that they have nothing to do with a botched-up surgery. But the laws state that since the hospitals have allowed a particular surgeon to operate from their premises they are liable.

Pre-surgery protocols

To avoid such harrowing outcomes the Joint Commission has suggested a triple check system which most hospitals are told to abide by. The hospitals must have a sound verification system present. Multiple medical professionals must confirm the right patient is present on the operating table, the records are all in order, and the site of the surgery is marked.

The patient must be well informed and should be able to confirm the site. This means that the site should be marked when the patient is awake. In addition, another practitioner must be present when the site is marked and the marks must be consistent. If there is any ambiguity no cutting should ensue!

RMFW has won millions of dollars for past clients

If you are a victim seeking compensation don’t hesitate to seek legal counsel from Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff, & Wolff of RMFW Law by calling us at 212 697 9280 for a free evaluation. Our expert medical malpractice lawyers will evaluate your case and help you understand your legal options in order to receive a fair compensation.

You deserve to be paid! Your life has been hampered by this and it may set you back weeks, if not years. You need and have a right to seek restitution. Call RMFW at 212 697 9280. Let us hear what you have to say. The first meeting is on us.