Just the thought of wrong-site surgery probably makes you cringe. You quickly think of the dramatic examples: amputating the wrong limb, operating on the wrong eye, removing a healthy lung. These are serious, devastating issues that can leave patients with permanent disabilities.
It shouldn't happen, but it does. What can doctors do to prevent it? A few key steps include:
- Marking the site prior to the surgery
- Double-checking all documents
- Checking details with the patient the day before surgery, not in a rush right before surgery
- Telling the surgical team not to be afraid to speak up
- Talking to the patient and letting them be involved
- Practicing with procedures and checklists in advance
On top of that, it is very important for medical professionals to talk about mistakes. They sometimes want to hide these mistakes or keep them quiet. There is a sense of professional embarrassment.
However, just like in any other occupation, sharing information is important. Another doctor can learn from a mistake without actually making that mistake. Additionally, medical centers can review procedures to see if they're working, and they can identify the reasons for the most common errors. This can help them create a system that protects patients in the future.
So, what do you do if you suffer a serious injury due to a doctor's error? Remember, life may never be the same. You should find out what rights you have to financial compensation. This compensation may be able to help you with financial issues like additional medical bills, lost wages, the need for life-long care, or pain and suffering.