Parents want what is best for their children. Many parents spend countless hours researching their children’s symptoms on the internet or searching for the best pediatrician. However, even after spending months or years searching for the right doctor in New York, that does not mean parents or their children will be safe from medical malpractice.
One mother had been taking her son to a doctor for nearly two years prior to an operation to correct his lazy eye. The procedure was supposed to be fast and simple, and the three-year-old son shouldn’t have even needed to spend the night in the hospital. Despite the appointments and the alleged simplicity of the operation, the surgeon still made a mistake during the operation – she operated on the wrong eye.
According to the boy’s mother, the doctor said, “Frankly, I lost my sense of direction, and by the time I realized it was the left eye, I was almost done.”
Many surgical mistakes are preventable, but operating on the wrong body part or the wrong side of the body demonstrates an even higher level of negligence. Moreover, according to a study that analyzed the number and type of surgical mistakes in the United States, there could be more than 2,700 mistakes every year in which doctors operate on the wrong body part or the wrong patient.
Despite efforts by patient advocacy groups, avoidable mistakes continue to happen. The CEO of one advocacy group stated that many patients do not realize how complex the medical system is, and they assume they are in safe hands. He said that each patient who is operated on typically sees more than a dozen doctors, adding that “every time someone new sees a patient, there’s the potential that they’ll miss something or get a detail wrong.”
Read more in the next post to learn about the six things patients can do to prevent themselves from becoming the victims of medical malpractice.
Source: CNN Health, “Patients, beware of wrong-side surgeries,” Sabriya Rice, 28 April 2011