Wrong-Side - Wrong-Site Surgery

A 49-year-old licensed physician practicing orthopedic surgery in Iowa made a surgical incision on the wrong hip. This is commonly called a wrong-side surgery. It happens. I happens way too often. And there is a quick and easy fix for it. It is called a “Time-Out”. Time-outs don’t occur when the doctor is in a hurry and/or isn’t listening to the surgical team.

The surgical team consists of the surgeon, the anesthesiologist or anesthetist, the nurses and all the surgical support staff. A time out is called by the surgeon. Everyone on the surgical team steps away from the table and confirms the following:

  1. Do we have the correct patient?
  2. Let’s confirm the surgical procedure we are here to perform.
  3. Let’s confirm the anatomical location that requires surgery. Left. Right. Posterior. Anterior.

Simple, yet often ignored. Ego? Probably.

And after the Iowa Board of Medicine filed a combined Statement of Charges a Settlement Agreement was entered. Frankly, this does not make the surgeon a bad surgeon or even an incompetent one. I am more critical of the surgical procedure and that criticism goes all the way around the operating table. Everyone involved is at fault. Why didn’t someone, anyone for that matter tell him? Did no one read the chart before the surgery began?

A civil penalty of $2,500.00 was levied.

I would like the Iowa Board of Medicine to have published the Corrective Action Plan.

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