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Wrong knee anesthetized for surgery in Connecticut


Posted by Thomas Pettinicchi of D'Amico & Pettinicchi, LLC on Nov 29, 2012 in Doctor Errors

Going to the hospital for surgery can be a very stressful situation for people. It is often the most important event on a person's mind and we would like to think the hospital staff is similarly focused on helping that person feel better. Even with the most routine procedure, we expect that a doctor and all the people involved in surgery will take appropriate care to stay informed and focused during even the most common surgical procedures.

However, the reality is that this is not always true. There are times when doctors, nurses and other hospital staff members simply go on auto-pilot during surgeries that they are used to performing, which can put patients in jeopardy if there is a doctor error that is made.

Recently, an anesthesiologist at New Milford Hospital in Connecticut has been fined for his role in a surgical error that put one man in danger. According to reports, a patient came to the hospital for knee replacement surgery. The anesthesiologist was supposed to numb the patient's left knee by injecting a drug into the femoral nerve in order for the patient's knee to stay numb during the surgery. However, in this case, the anesthesiologist incorrectly numbed the patient's right knee.

The anesthesiologist responsible for the error was fined $5,000 by the state, and it is not known if the patient will decide to pursue compensation for the mistake. However, the doctor did sign a consent order in which he admits no wrongdoing.

This is the second error that has been discovered at the hospital in this year. Previously, a radiologist punctured a patient's spleen during surgery. Instead of alerting the doctor to the mistake, the mistake was ignored and the patient was sent home after the surgery where he died three days later. That patient's widow has filed a wrongful death suit against the radiologist.

Source: New Milford Spectrum, "Anesthesiologist fined for error," Robert Miller, Nov. 28, 2012