Thousands of patients across the country go to hospitals each day for surgical procedures, and here in New Jersey surgical patients enjoy access to some of the nation’s best hospitals and doctors through medical facilities in the Tri-state area. While many patients have fears about the underlying reasons that they must undergo surgery, few anticipate the very real possibility that mistakes during surgery will leave them worse off than before the procedures.
A patient at a highly respected regional hospital recently fell victim this very fate. A dialysis recipient with two failed kidneys, the patient was scheduled to have one kidney removed, but the acting surgeon removed the wrong kidney. Doctors later had to remove the kidney that should have been extracted in the first surgery, leaving the elderly individual without either organ.
Wrong side operations, though not highly common, do happen. A doctor that reportedly removed the wrong kidney from a different patient claimed that his attention was diverted by pager calls, which led to him providing erroneous information his patient’s medical chart. Many hospitals attempt to prevent such errors from occurring through marking patients and carefully preparing operating rooms, but as evidenced by this story, wrong side operations are a medical reality.
Having the wrong organ removed during surgery is a serious medical error but only one possible catastrophic event that can happen during a hospital stay. Individuals who have suffered from mistakes made during surgeries may consider contacting a surgical mistakes attorney to discuss their legal rights. Victims of surgical errors may be entitled to recover damages against negligent medical practitioners as compensation for their injuries and losses.
Source: New Jersey Herald, “NYC hospital removes wrong kidney from patient,” May 9, 2013