You may have heard of wrong site surgery, this is where a patient has been operated on but the surgeons have operated on the wrong part of the body or carried out the wrong procedure. This type of event is called a ‘never event’ by Hospitals and means that it should never happen under any circumstances. Unfortunately, from time to time these types of events do happen and it is caused by human error, usually because medical records have been muddled up or misread by the pre-operative doctors. It may also be caused by inaccurate record keeping or a failure to follow Hospital guidelines.
Fortunately, not all never events result in serious harm. They can be as simple as a surgeon making the incision in the wrong place which can be instantly spotted and treated. Other types of incorrect surgery may be having the wrong tooth extracted. The most severe of these types of incorrect surgery claims are those where patients have the wrong limb amputated. For example, a patient may have a severely infected left leg and a perfectly healthy right leg, but due to an error the healthy right leg is amputated. After this the bad left leg will still need to be amputated so this person will lose both legs instead of only one.
Most recent data released from the NHS confirmed that between 1st April 2015 and 31st March 2016 there were 179 recorded incidents of wrong site surgery. Provisional data released by the NHS for 1st April 2016 to 28th February 2017 records 156 wrong site surgery events.
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