This is the 5th time since 2007. This time the surgical site was the patient’s hand. Apparently, and the reports differ, it was the correct hand, the right finger but the wrong joint. I have to give the hospital credit for publicizing the mistake. It can’t be easy for the hospital’s president Timothy Babineau. Even though the mistake won’t help to make patients comfortable his honesty with the public is refreshing.

So how can patients increase the chances of avoiding a wrong-site surgery? It’s actually pretty simple. By having the doctor mark the surgical site with a surgical marker and reviewing the procedure, the identity of the patient and the body part/location that is to be operated on, mistakes would rarely occur.

Here are two questions that would help.

1.      Have you read the chart?

2.      If so, then describe the procedure to be undertaken and to what part of the body.

You might think this is an embarrassing discussion to have with the surgeon, but it’s your body so get over it.

Here are three articles discussing the Rhode Island Hospital case.

Steve Lombardi
Iowa personal injury, workers' compensation, motorcycle, quadriplegic, paraplegic, brain injury, death
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