Wrong-side surgeries in Iowa, should never happenSteveL
Wrong-side surgeries are a lot more common than you may think. Wrong-side, wrong-site, wrong-patient and wrong-procedure surgeries make up this subgroup of medical malpractice legal claims. We have handled lawsuits in almost all of these medical malpractice subcategories. These are known in the medical community as “never events”, simply because they should never have happened.
What they are is a basic mistake of fact and also a procedural breakdown in the operating room. There are simple methods and procedures that avoid them. But when those procedures are either ignored, avoided or discarded, you can get a wrong-side surgery.
What surprises me about them is that with multiple people in the operating room, why doesn’t someone stop the doctor and say, “Hey doctor, STOP! This is supposed to be the left side, not the right side!”
I won’t go through all the other methods that deter these wrong-sided or wrong-patient or wrong-procedure surgeries. But there are numerous ways to avoid making such a gross mistake of negligence.
The latest action by the Iowa Board of Medicine was against a neurological surgery who “was to perform a frontotemporal craniotomy to resect a lesion on the hypothalamus in the center of the brain. The surgery was planned to be an approach from the right side of the patient’s head, but Dr. (Anonymous) instead performed the frontotemporal craniotomy approaching from the left side, contrary to plan. Due to the location of the lesion, surgery continued and was ultimately completed without complication.”
I am not publishing the doctor’s name. I think he already has suffered enough embarrassment and doesn’t need me heaping it on. You should also know the doctor was fined by the Iowa Board of Medicine and may have also had to deal with the patient’s claim. That I do not have information about.
If you would like additional information about a legal case, please give us a call at the Lombardi Law Firm in West Des Moines.