Thursday, November 29, 2007

So, Which Side Was That Again, Eh…? The Horror of Wrong-Sided Surgery

You’re having surgery. All the authorizations have been given—all the forms signed…and preparations made.

You trust your surgeon’s credentials, education and expertise in providing you with the care you need. You have every confidence in the nursing staff.

Yet, you can’t arrive at the hospital before stopping at an art store to pick up…permanent markers—just as a precaution. “X” marks the spot, right?

You want to make sure there’s no question WHICH side of your body the surgery is to be performed on.

Sound wacky? Not when you consider that tales of doctors operating on the wrong side of a patient’s body—or removing the wrong organ or limb—happen with frightening frequency in hospitals across the country. The most recent case, involving an 82-year old Rhode Island patient, resulted in a $50,000 fine being levied against the hospital.

While the overall percentages are low, so-called “wrong-site surgery” occurs more often than is being reported, and has prompted a review of procedures and implementation of guidelines for hospitals to follow to prevent occurrences. Review the article and relate your own opinion on what can or should be done.

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