Thomas A. Sharon, R.N., M.P.H.

Nursing & Patient Safety Expert, Life Care Plan, Medical Evidence Analysis, Medical Record Review, Legal Nurse Consultant, Litigation Support

Universal Hospital Mistakes: Wrong Patient or Wrong Surgery

June 28th, 2015 · Comments Off on Universal Hospital Mistakes: Wrong Patient or Wrong Surgery

surgery check list

Surgery Performed on the Wrong Patient
Operating on the wrong patient means that the operating room nurse might have all the correct paper work but the patients got mixed up in pre-op holding. When this happens there are automatically two wrong operations going on. In operating room, where all customers are wearing identical gowns and caps they pretty much all look alike and they are usually snowed under with anesthetics before they reach the operating room. Sometimes there are two patients with similar appearance with the same last name, so the accidental swap happens. barcode identifier would go a long way to eliminate this problem. Also, the circulating nurse should visit with the patient a before, if possible, to gain some familiarity to prevent identity confusion among the staff.

Wrong surgical procedure performed on a patient

Performing the wrong surgical procedure has more to do with the consent than anything else. The standard consent form allows the surgeon to do almost anything perceived as medically necessary once he or she has made the incision. However, the consent form should state exactly what the surgeon intends to do. Since the advent of diagnostic technology, exploratory surgery has become virtually obsolete so there is no longer any need for surgeons to have such wide latitude. There aren’t as many surprises as there used to be, although there are times when unexpected anatomical structures present a challenge to achieving the surgical goal. The best way to alleviate the risk of having a surgeon perform unauthorized surgical procedures after the initial cut is to send a member of the surgical team to communicate with a designated health care proxy to get verbal permission after explaining the reason for the change of plan. Of course, there would have to be exemptions made for any life-threatening situation.


Comments Off on Universal Hospital Mistakes: Wrong Patient or Wrong SurgeryTags: Health Care Consumer Alert · Hospital · Hospital Mistakes · Hospital Quality · Medical Error Alert · Medical Malpractice · Medical Mistakes · Nursing Neglilgence · Patient Safety · Quality Assurance