Free Consultation (478) 238-9758

Personal Injury Law Blog

My Doctor Made a Mistake

Posted by Jarome Gautreaux | Feb 12, 2016 | 0 Comments

Some, maybe many, medical errors are preventable. There is no good excuse for performing the wrong surgical procedure, operating on the wrong surgical site, or on the wrong patient.

These types of errors are referred to as WSPEs (Wrong-site, wrong-procedure, wrong-patient).

Preventable Medical Errors

Examples of WSPEs include:

  • Performing a mastectomy on someone without breast cancer
  • Performing hip replacement surgery on a patient that should have had knee replacement surgery
  • Operating on the left shoulder when it should have been the right shoulder
  • Operating on the wrong person. This happened just last week when a TN newborn erroneously had his tongue clipped because he was mixed up with another baby who was scheduled to have the surgery.

Medical Errors that Should Never Happen

These types of situations don't happen often, but they shouldn't happen at all. A 2013 study estimated that more than 4000 surgical “never events” occur yearly in the U.S.

A “never event” is a list of adverse events that should never happen and that put patients at serious risk. They include such things as giving the wrong medication, leaving surgical devices in patients, letting patients develop bed sores, falls and trauma, and performing surgery on the wrong body part or patient.

These are events that don't happen when a patient is being cared-for properly. The National Quality Forum lists 29 events as “Never Events” here.

How to Prevent Surgical Errors

If you or a loved one is scheduled for surgery, whether in a hospital or an off-site surgical center, there are certain things you can do to help reduce the likelihood of a mistake:

  1. Make sure all medical personnel (doctors, nurses, anesthesiologists, etc.) double-check your name, birth date and the surgery you are about to have;
  2. Make sure the surgeon properly marks the site where the surgery is to occur and that it is marked on the correct side of the body and in the correct place;
  3. Carefully read any forms that you must sign before the surgery. These forms list the specific procedure being performed and the risks associated with it. Ask questions if something doesn't look right on the form; and
  4. If any of the medical personnel say anything that seems different from what you expected then be sure to ask questions. Double-check with them the exact procedure being performed so that there is no ambiguity about what surgery is being performed, on what body part and to what patient. It's always better to be overly cautious.

If you have been the victim of a surgical error you likely will be scared and confused and not know what to do. The key is to focus on getting better and let someone else take care of holding the medical personnel or facility responsible for the mistake. Our firm has years of experience handling cases of medical and surgical negligence. If you think you've been injured by medical negligence, contact our office for a free consultation so that we can help get you on the road to recovery.

About the Author

Jarome Gautreaux

Jarome Gautreaux is a personal injury trial lawyer who represents people in Macon, and across the State of Georgia and other states, who have been seriously injured, as well as the families of people killed because of carelessness or negligence.  Jarome has successfully recovered for his clients over 100 million dollars in a variety of personal injury cases.  He is often asked by other lawyers to become involved in complex personal injury litigation.


There are no comments for this post. Be the first and Add your Comment below.

Leave a Comment


Office Location

778 Mulberry Street
Macon, Georgia 31201
Phone: 478-238-9758
Toll Free: 888-876-6935
Fax: 478-216-9179
email: [email protected]