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What is a wrong-site surgery, and is it preventable in Florida?

A wrong-site surgery is a serious complication; a patient who went in to have an amputation or operation to stop pain may be forced to suffer additional and horrific pain and injury due to the mistake. So, the problem itself should be to make sure the staff is well aware of the body part to be worked on; unfortunately, this isn't as easy as it seems.

It's estimated that wrong-site surgery, wrong-side surgery, and even wrong-patient surgeries happen around 40 times each week. This problem can be prevented; it's been shown through a pilot phase of a recent CTH project that it's possible to significantly reduce the risk of a wrong-site surgery.

In two initiatives used in Pennsylvania, the hospitals involved have been successful in reducing these issues. In the first initiative, 30 hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers reduced their wrong-site surgeries from around 15 to 4 per year. In the other, 20 facilities in the UPMC system were able to avoid wrong-site surgeries completely for over a year. Those hospitals have shown a serious ability to reduce these errors, so why hasn't it become commonplace to use these systems in all hospitals?

It's believed that many hospitals don't make this a priority. Communication, organization, and check processes have to be used to prevent these errors. Simply mistaking the time of an operation can lead to the wrong patient entering or a doctor not showing up on time. These issues need to be seen and dealt with.

If you've suffered from a wrong-site surgery or been given a surgery you didn't need, you have the right to ask for legal help. With a clear case, you may be able to get the compensation you need while you recover.

Source: Hospital & Health Networks, "Wrong-site surgery" Dec. 16, 2014

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