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Monthly Archives: March 2017

Referring Physician Initially Blamed for Wrong Patient Surgery

Mar 29, 2017 - Personal Injury by

Wrong patient surgery is considered to be a surgical “never event” within the medical community, but the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality reports that never events happen with some regularity, and 71 percent of them are fatal. Our Tuscaloosa personal injury lawyers believe that even one instance of wrong patient surgery is too many. Patients should take a warning from one recent Massachusetts example and learn as much as possible about how a surgical facility safeguards against patient misidentification before they undergo surgery. Patient Misidentification Can Happen in a Number of Ways Last year, reports surfaced of a wrong patient surgery in Massachusetts that resulted in the removal of a healthy kidney. In initial reports the hospital claimed that the misidentification error occurred outside of their hospital, possibly connected with the referring physician. However, a NY Daily News article published two months later told a different story. State and federal health investigators noted that the patients were several years apart in age. A birthdate check while examining the CT scan — and a display of the patient’s birthdate on computer monitors in the operating room might easily have resolved the issue. Patients and their family members should never have to take responsibility for this type of error, but it is advisable to take the following precautions: Check the arm band to make sure that it correctly shows enough information to conclusively identify the patient. Ask about identification protocols used at the facility. […]

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