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New procedures put in place after surgical error


Posted by Thomas Pettinicchi of D'Amico & Pettinicchi, LLC on Nov 02, 2012 in Surgical Errors

We all know that people make mistakes, and that they are not necessarily made out of malice or a desire to seriously harm someone. But when an error ends up doing just that, there must be accountability. One of the places that these mistakes can result in catastrophe or death is in the very place we go to get better: a hospital.

Connecticut residents going into surgery expect that they will be treated with care. All it takes, however, is one mistake to change a person's life. When a surgical error happens, it may not be on purpose, but the hospitals and staff should be held responsible and action must be taken to prevent the same mistake from happening again.

Earlier this year, a man went into surgery to have his kidney removed so that he could donate it to his sister. The surgery went as expected, but the kidney was set aside to await transplant and a nurse who entered the room late inadvertently threw it away. The kidney was eventually recovered but was unusable. The young man had gone through the surgery for nothing, and his sister was still without a healthy kidney.

Since this mistake was made, the kidney transplant program has been placed on voluntary suspension. They have been looking at ways to prevent this type of error from being repeated.

The solutions range from simple and straightforward to technological and complex. The metal containers in which kidneys are placed have been replaced by plastic, clearly-marked boxes, and nothing may be removed from the operating room until the surgery is complete. Further, an infrared motion detector has been placed near the machine where the organs are placed, and an alarm sounds when a person gets too close to it. Further, if the lid on that machine is lifted, a visual and audible alert goes off.

While the incidence may have been the result of simple human error, the fact is that there were systems in place that allowed the mistake to be made. Unfortunately, many times, it is only after a surgical error has been made that procedures are scrutinized and improved. For the victims of these mistakes, the changes are too little too late. For these patients, their best option may be to file a claim against a hospital or doctor in order to hold them financially accountable for the damage that has been done. If you have been injured during a surgical procedure contact an experienced Watertown surgical error lawyer today for a free consultation. 

Source: Toledo Blade, "Changes in place after botched surgery," Jennifer Feehan, Oct. 7, 2012