Medical Malpractice: Operating on the Wrong Side of the Body

By dtaw on October 02, 2019

Inside of an operating roomAccording to a 2012 article on WebMD, roughly 4,000 surgical errors occur every year. This leads to an estimated $1.3 billion in medical malpractice payouts for surgery errors annually. Two-thirds of surgical errors were committed by surgeons who faced a previous medical malpractice claim. The article notes that the number of annual surgical errors could be even higher than this estimate due to some surgical mistakes never being reported.

The Oklahoma City, OK attorneys at Tawwater Law Firm, PLLC would like to consider surgery mistake in which the wrong side of the body is operated on . This is a particularly unacceptable type of error since it puts healthy body parts and organs at risk.

The Consequences of These Surgery Mistakes

When the wrong side of he body is operated on, it could lead to a number of serious issues.

We have pairs of different organs. Obviously we have to consider our limbs, but we should also consider our eyes, ears, lungs, kidneys, and so forth. Operating on a healthy organ or body part does unneeded harm, and could lead to further medical problems later in life.

Amputation of the wrong body part means that a patient has lost a healthy part of their body. This can lead to serious issues with mobility and performing daily tasks. You may lose your good arm or hand, which can have disastrous consequences for your career and day-to-day concerns. Prosthetics may be necessary to restore some of the lost function.

Most importantly, a surgery on the wrong part of the body means that a second surgery is necessary to address the untreated medical problem. That means more time off work, additional medical recovery time, and possibly even further medical attention.

How the Wrong Side of the Body Gets Operated On

There are many reasons why these kinds of egregious surgical mistakes might occur. Some examples include:

  • Mix up of medical records/charts
  • Incorrect surgical plan for a patient
  • Wrong side of the body marked for surgery
  • Stress among the surgical team
  • Rushing and inattentiveness by the surgical team
  • Miscommunication in the operation room

Whatever the reason, our Oklahoma City medical malpractice lawyers find these kinds of medical errors unacceptable. People’s lives are at stake. Someone should be held accountable for errors that are this serious.

Who Is Legally Liable for These Errors?

It’s important that surgeons, hospitals, and medical facilities be held accountable whenever operation errors occur. The nature of the surgical mistake will usually determine which person and/or what entity must be held legally liable for what happened.

Legal Damages in Surgical Error Cases

In surgical error cases, two kinds of damages can be sought.

  • Compensatory damages are monetary awards that cover material losses associated with the incident that occurred. That means damages to cover the cost of surgery (which includes additional surgery), ongoing medical care, lost wages, loss of mobility, changes in quality of life, and emotional pain and suffering.
  • Punitive damages are intended to punish a medical professional or facility for egregious errors and misconduct. In these cases, the actions of a surgeon or the negligence of a hospital are so glaring that they deserve to be punished for allowing such an error to occur. The nature of the surgical error will determine how much is sought in punitive damages.

Contact Our Attorneys

For more information about your legal options following a surgery error, be sure to contact our team of attorneys. The team at the Tawwater Law Firm, PLLC can be reached in Oklahoma City by phone at (405) 673-8021.

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