Wrong-site surgical procedures are negligent medical errors and shouldn’t happen. Unfortunately, human error leads to chart mix-ups and other grave mistakes that cause surgeons to operate on the wrong body parts.
These claims often fall under the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur, which means “the thing speaks for itself.” In practice, this doctrine holds that an incident could have happened only because of an act of negligence. All that is necessary to prove is that wrong-surgery occurred. A plaintiff does not need to prove why or how it happened. However, this doctrine does not prove who is responsible for the mistake. It only holds that someone other than the patient is responsible.
Operating on the wrong site typically is not a one-person mistake. Several people may have made mistakes along the way that led to the ultimate error. You may hold the primary surgeon, the nursing team, and/or the medical facility responsible for the incident, depending on the circumstances.
A third-party investigation conducted by your West Virginia medical malpractice lawyer may reveal who is responsible for the grievous error. Carelessness or haste in the planning process, poor communication, and failure to follow the standard of care are among the possible reasons for such errors.
Preventing Wrong-Site Surgeries
Prevention is the best option. Medical staff members are only human and are subject to mistakes. One of the most widely used ways to prevent a wrong-site surgery is to make sure the operation site is clearly marked. Surgeons commonly use a permanent marker to indicate the exact site of the operation. If your surgeon does not mark the site, you can request that the team does so prior to the procedure.
Constant communication can prevent these mistakes. Make sure the nursing staff, the anesthesiologist, and others know who you are and why you are there before they start preoperative procedures. In some cases, you may speak with the surgeon before the operation. Direct communication can prevent wrong-site surgery.
Your medical team owes you a high level of care while you are undergoing treatment. However, it never hurts to double-check everything yourself. Doing so may prevent a painful and life-altering wrong-site surgery.
What to Do After a Wrong-Site Surgery
If you or a loved one has been injured by wrong-site surgery, you may want to take action against the people responsible. Wrong-site surgeries almost always mean that patients have to undergo additional surgeries to complete the original operation. After such a preventable medical error, you have the right to file a medical malpractice action against the individuals responsible.
Your medical malpractice attorney can help you develop a case that includes recovery for your physical and emotional pain as a result of the negligence. There is no cap on economic damages, which cover the losses you endured as a result of the mistake. You may also recover up to $500,000 in non-economic or punitive damages to punish the medical professional responsible for the error.
The West Virginia medical malpractice lawyers at Tiano O’Dell, PLLC understand the difficulties of medical malpractice cases involving surgical errors. We can help you get the care you deserve and help you hold the negligent professionals responsible for their actions. For more information, contact our team today.