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Wrong-site surgery can lead to years of agony for the victim

Wrong-site surgery may be one of gravest forms of medical malpractice that adversely affects the lives of many Virginia residents. Wrong-site surgery means that a medical procedure was performed on the wrong organ, location on the body, or limb of the patient, or in some cases even on the wrong patient altogether.

Virginia authorities have taken up the grave issue related to wrong-site surgery with appropriate intensity. Wrong-site surgeries have led to many Virginia residents losing healthy limbs through unnecessary amputation or in some cases having operations on healthy organs, such as kidneys, without reason. Many victims of wrong-site surgeries have successfully initiated medical malpractice lawsuits with the help of personal injury lawyers.

Authorities have often conducted various awareness programs in order to prevent wrong-site surgeries. Various preventive measures may be taken by hospitals and medical personnel, such as verification of the medical details before surgery, timeouts in order to confirm the area for surgery, as well as marking the site to be prepared for the surgery and medical procedure with an indelible pen.

More alarming is that many insurance companies do not automatically pay a claim issued by a hospital or doctor for wrong-site surgeries. Many doctors have even resisted reporting these surgical mistakes and preparing a checklist for cross-checking their methods because they refuse to admit that they do make mistakes.

The instances of wrong-site surgeries have not dropped even after repeated awareness programs conducted by Virginia patient-advocate groups and other outlets. State authorities have stated that about 40 patients nationwide are victims of wrong-site surgery each year. Reporting wrong-site surgeries, however, is a voluntary procedure in Virginia so these statistics do not really tell the full extent of this problem, thereby increasing the likelihood that a patient may more often experience this kind of medical malpractice.

Source: The Washington Post, “The pain of wrong site surgery,” Sandra G. Boodman, June 20, 2011

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