The first step in a successful surgery is to make sure the procedure is being performed on the correct area of the body. It may seem like common sense, but wrong site surgery is one of the many types of surgical errors that still occur in hospital operating rooms today.

If you are the victim of wrong site surgery, it can lead to devastating complications. Not only will your initial condition not be addressed, but there may be additional damage to the operation site. Filing a medical malpractice claim for wrong site surgery can be difficult and is best handled by an experienced Fairfax medical malpractice attorney.

How does wrong site surgery happen?

Surgical teams are required to follow a certain protocol before, during and after surgical procedures are performed. The pre-procedure and procedure protocol are the 2 times when verification of the surgical site is critical to avoid wrong site surgery. If you reviewed your Fairfax medical malpractice attorney's case files, you'd see that more often than not, the cause of wrong site surgery claims is the surgical staff's failure to follow protocol.

Before a surgical procedure, the surgical staff is required to meet as a group to verify they are about to operate on the correct patient, in the correct location, with the correct procedure. The medical records are reviewed one last time before the procedure begins to minimize the risk of surgical errors related to miscommunication.

Of course, when this verification step is skipped, often because of time constraints, the chance of wrong site surgery increases. The verification process is also necessary during the procedure, just as a fail-safe to allow the team to take a step back to make sure they are absolutely performing the procedure on the correct area before any incision is made.

Marking the surgical site is another important step in wrong site surgery prevention. Many of the medical malpractice claims filed by Fairfax medical malpractice attorneys show evidence that either the surgical site was never marked in the first place or that it was improperly marked.

The Importance of a Time-Out

Another crucial step in surgical protocol is known as a time-out, which is called during the surgery. A time-out is a chance for the surgical team to pause and review which procedure is to be performed, which patient it is to be performed on and where the surgery is to take place. All members of the surgical team are involved, especially the member who marked and verified the surgical site.

The time-out is one of the most skipped parts of surgical protocol, mainly because of the rush to start a surgery, especially in emergency cases. The few moments it takes to review this information before an incision is made can make the difference between life and death in some medical malpractice cases.

Wrong site surgery can result in serious medical costs, painful and debilitating complications and even death. You owe it to yourself to have an experienced Fairfax medical malpractice attorney on your side to help you if you need to file a medical malpractice claim for wrong site surgery.

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Ben Glass is a nationally recognized Virginia injury, medical malpractice, and long-term disability attorney