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Doctor argues wrong-site surgery was justified


Posted by Brendan Faulkner of D'Amico & Pettinicchi, LLC on Aug 21, 2013 in Doctor Errors

There are very few, if any, scenarios in which operating on the wrong body part during a surgery is considered understandable. It seems like identifying the correct body part should be the easiest step of a procedure. But unfortunately, there are many people who end up victims of a wrong-site surgery.

Doctors and hospitals may often end up admitting their mistake and offering a settlement, even if it takes a lawsuit to prompt the response of accountability. But in one recent case, a doctor not only refused to own up to the fact that he had operated on the wrong body part, but he went so far as to assert that the unnecessary procedure was completely justified.

The incident took place when the doctor operated on a patient's right leg, even though he was supposed to be operating on her left leg. After a nurse alerted the doctor to his mistake, he completed the procedure again, this time on the correct side.

After the surgeries, the doctor reportedly said that he meant to operate on the wrong leg because he felt the additional procedure was inevitable. He then tried to coerce the patient into signing a form consenting to the procedure to her right leg, despite having already completed the operation. The doctor no longer works at the hospital and it is unknown if the victim will take legal action against him.

We have often discussed the frightening frequency with which wrong-site surgeries occur in hospitals across Connecticut and nationwide. Many times, the mistake ends up being detrimental to a patient's health and it is appropriate to hold a negligent doctor accountable for the error. This may be especially true if the surgeon refuses to take responsibility for his or her actions and poses a threat to other patients.

Source: Outpatient Surgery, "Surgeon Claims He Intended to Operate on Wrong Leg," Aug. 20, 2013