Wrong-Site or Wrong-Patient Surgery Somerset County, New Jersey

Medical Malpractice Attorney serving clients across Somerset and Hunterdon County, NJ

The Nightmare that is Wrong-Site or Wrong-Patient Surgery

Having any surgery, even minor, can be a very scary experience. We place our trust in our surgeons and other medical staff to conduct surgical procedures in an efficient, effective, and professional manner.  It is difficult to imagine that surgical errors as grave as operating on the wrong site or even the wrong patient can occur.  However, this type of medical malpractice happens and it happens more often than most people would believe.

The Law Office of Brian J. Levine has extensive experience recovering compensation for all types of medical malpractice cases, including wrong-site and wrong-patient surgery across Somerset County and Hunterdon County. Our firm utilizes an extensive network of qualified medical experts across all fields of medicine, and we are ready to represent you and your needs in an effective, compassionate, and knowledgeable manner.

You can speak with our firm today in a free and confidential consultation regarding your potential medical malpractice claim. Please contact us online, or through our Somerville, NJ office at (908) 524-0123.

Hunterdon County Lawyers Review the Frequency Wrong Site or Wrong-Patient Surgery

Most people believe that a doctor operating on the wrong body part, or on the wrong patient, is rare. According to a CNN study conducted in 2010, wrong-site surgery is more common than most would think. In fact, the report found that wrong-patient and wrong-site procedures made up about 0.5 percent of all medical mistakes. With surgeons in the United States performing an average of 50 million surgical procedures a year this means this tragic and terrible mistake can happen up to 2.5 million times per year!

Table 1. Summary Data of Sentinel Events Reviewed by The Joint Commission

Type of Event 2014 2015 2016 2005 to 2016
Wrong-Site, Wrong-Patient, Wrong-Procedure 73 120 104 1281
Unintended Retention of Foreign Object 116 123 120 1231
Delay in Treatment 79 83 54 1068
Medication Error 20 47 33 476
Anesthesia-Related Event 6 7 4 108

Note. Table 1 is a noninclusive list. The reporting of most sentinel events to The Joint Commission is voluntary and represents only a small proportion of actual events.

An analysis of the National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB) by John Hopkin’s patient safety researchers concludes the following:

  • 20 times a week the wrong procedure is performed on a patient.
  • 20 times a week an operation occurs on the wrong body part.

How does Wrong Site or Wrong-Patient Surgery happen?

This type of medical malpractice can happen for many reasons including extremely tired and overworked doctors and medical staff, lack of effective communication among surgeons and medical staff as well as patients not being proactive and being knowledgeable about the procedures they are undergoing.

The current health care system is not culturally or structurally organized for preventing WSPEs. Multiple systems and organizational factors lead to WSPE occurrence, including similarity of site, surgery, and patient names; breakdowns in communication and teamwork; patient and procedure factors; and failure of existing safety checks.

Damages from Wrong Site or Wrong-Patient Somerville NJ

It can not be understated just how damaging undergoing an unnecessary or incorrect surgical procedure can be. Depending on the surgery, catastrophic injuries can be caused that may not be able to be corrected or may have to be corrected by undergoing further, often painful, surgical procedures.

While medical mistakes are never intentional, they can have serious consequences, including:

• Paralysis
• Negligent removal of an organ or limb
• Infection
• Bowel injuries
• Deformation and disfigurement
• Loss of sensation
• Long-term disability
• Wrongful death

Preventing Wrong-Site and Wrong-Patient Surgical Procedures in New Jersey Hospitals

It is important to remember that steps can be taken to eliminate this type of medical malpractice. In a very informative article, PubMed.Gov discusses some simple yet effective procedures that doctors and hospitals can employ to make sure wrong-site or wrong-person surgeries do not occur:

  • The performing of preoperative verification of all relevant records including the operative record, test results,  informed consent, patient’s history and examination findings.
  • Verification with the patient is vital as wrong-site surgery can often result from misinformation or miscommunication.
  • Physically marking or initialing the actual surgical site with a sterile magic marker before operating.
  • Pausing before anesthesia is administered and surgery performed to permit the medical team to re-check if they have the correct patient and surgery site.
  • Supporting medical personnel, such as nurses and anesthesiologists, in the operating room should be encouraged to speak up if they see that a mistake is being made.
  • In cases of spinal surgeries, the disc level should be confirmed by a thorough review of the MRI film.

Get in Touch with a Bridgewater Medical Malpractice Attorney today

Attorney Brian Levine has already recovered over $7.5 million dollars for his clients in the last three years, helping them to rebuild their lives after injuries resulting from wrong-site surgery, wrong-patient surgery, negligent hospitals, emergency room errors, birth injuriesdelays in treatment, misdiagnosis and more.

For more than 30 years he has provided professional advice and consultation regarding filing medical malpractice claims in Somerset County, Hunterdon County, Bridgewater, New Brunswick, Somerville as well as surrounding communities. Please contact us online, or by phone through our Somerville, NJ office at (908) 524-0123 for a free and confidential consultation.


Office Location

The Law Office Of Brian J. Levine

75 North Bridge Street

Somerville, NJ 08876

Telephone: 908-524-0123