In January 2017, the Joint Commission issued a National Patient Safety Goal and Universal Protocol for preventing wrong site, wrong procedure, and wrong person surgery. Wrong site surgery means that the surgical procedure was performed on the incorrect portion of the anatomy for which surgery was intended. The wrong procedure means that the operation that was performed was not the intended procedure. Wrong person surgery means that the patient upon which surgery was performed was not the intended patient.
In January 2017, the Joint Commission issued the National Patient Safety Goals encouraging medical facilities to conduct a pre-procedure verification process. This stems from ongoing research that had been performed by the Joint Commission from 2011 and before. In 2011, the Joint Commission initiated a project with eight hospitals and ambulatory centers in an attempt to minimize and evaluate wrong site, wrong procedure, and wrong person surgeries. Errors were identified in the process as well as potential steps to prevent them. The Joint Commission encouraged hospital and surgical facilities to obtain any missing information or discrepancies and to address any issues prior to starting the procedure. As noted by the Joint Commission, all facilities and physicians who perform invasive procedures are at some degree of risk. The biggest increased risk was inadequate information regarding the patient which had previously been recorded by a staff member from the surgeon’s office. Marking the surgical site varies greatly within facilities which increases the risk of preventable errors. The Joint Commission has provided a step-by-step process to measure performance and to encourage solutions for problems with communication between hospital staff, physicians, and others involved in the preparatory steps for a patient’s surgery.
Wrong site, wrong procedure, and wrong person surgery can create serious medical problems. All surgical patients should be safe and feel protected from these preventable medical errors. Such medical errors have legal ramifications. It is only through the diligent efforts of patients who raise these issues and bring them to the forefront that medical institutions, hospitals, and surgical centers will address these very serious issues in a diligent fashion. If you, a family member, or friend have been the unfortunate victim of the wrong surgical procedure; had surgery the wrong area of the body; or were misidentified as wrong surgical patient, contact Rolf Patberg at the Patberg Law Firm at 412-232-3500 or email Rolf Patberg at firstname.lastname@example.org. The initial consultation is free.