Defined as surgery on the incorrect area, a wrong-site surgery can have devastating consequences for the patient and their long-term health. Because wrong-site surgeries are categorized as medical “sentinel events” or “never events,” as defined by The Joint Commission, these errors are also considered to be a clear violation of the standard of care.
If you endured a wrong-site surgery and suffered serious injuries as a result, you have grounds to file a lawsuit against the surgeon and hospital responsible for your losses. At Cullan & Cullan, our Kansas City wrong-site surgery attorneys are also doctors. We have knowledge, resources, and drive to help you seek justice and build a compelling claim for compensation.
Call (816) 253-8606 to schedule a free consultation with our team today.
Types of Wrong-Site Surgeries
Few medical errors present a higher injury risk – or cause more lasting psychological trauma – than a wrong-site surgery. Whether you underwent a surgical procedure on the wrong side of your body or experienced an unnecessary surgical procedure intended for another patient, you will likely be struggling with significantly extended recovery timelines for your original injury or condition, on top of any new injuries.
Some of the most common wrong-site surgery errors:
- Surgery on the wrong body part or limb
- Surgery on the incorrect organ or system
- Surgery on the wrong patient
- Surgery on the other side of the body
- Incorrect surgical procedures for the task at hand
While hospital reporting on wrong-site surgery is not mandatory in most states, the American Hospital Association (AHA) estimates that the rates of wrong-site surgery may be as high as 40 per week. This is just one reason why The Joint Commission has spent considerable time and resources trying to reduce the rates of wrong-site surgery across the country. Unfortunately, there is little indication that the rates of surgical errors have slowed as a result of these efforts.
Who Is Liable for Wrong-Site Surgery?
Because patients must give informed consent before undergoing a surgical procedure – as well as show that they understand any risks associated with the procedure – some victims of wrong-site surgery may incorrectly believe they have no grounds for a lawsuit. However, these claims fall under the legal doctrine known as res ipsa loquitur, a Latin phrase meaning that an accident implies negligence. In other words, there is no reason for you to ever experience a wrong-site surgery, and your surgeon will be liable for your losses if you can prove they committed this error.
In addition to your surgeon, the following parties could share some liability for your losses:
- Other operating surgeons in the room
- Surgical prep staff
- The hospital
- Other care providers
Although proving a wrong-site surgery is often self-explanatory, attributing liability to the right party can be a difficult and complex process, particularly in larger healthcare organizations. Hospitals also have access to significant resources for legal defense, which can make it difficult to secure the compensation you need after such an injury.
Our wrong-site surgery lawyers at Cullan & Cullan are ready to help you face the challenges of bringing a medical malpractice claim in Kansas City, Missouri. We’ve recovered over $350 million for our clients across multiple states, and we understand how to investigate complicated medical claims and document the damages you’ve experienced.
For more information about how we can help with your wrong-site surgery claim, call our team at (816) 253-8606 as soon as possible.