When a doctor makes a mistake, it can have tragic consequences. Even a minor mistake can cause a patient to overdose on medication, fail to get treatment, or make their condition worse. However, some mistakes are hard to forgive, like when a doctor operates on the wrong side of a patient.
Wrong Side Surgeries Should Never Happen
Some types of medical errors are considered “never events,” because they should never happen. Two examples of never events are “wrong-site surgical errors,” and “wrong-side surgical error.” A wrong side surgery involves a doctor making a serious error and operating on or treating the wrong side of a patient.
If a doctor is supposed to amputate the right foot because of diabetes damage but removes the left foot instead, the patient could be later left with no feet because of the mix-up. How is the injury victim supposed to be compensated after such a devastating injury?
If someone giving you directions says “turn left” instead of turn right, it can cause confusion when you’re trying to get somewhere. When a doctor mistakes the left side of a patient for the right side, it may lead to unnecessary surgery and increase the risk of injury.
For example, if a patient has a cancerous tumor on their left kidney and the doctor removes the wrong kidney, the patient may suffer permanent injury. The left kidney would later have to be removed because of the cancerous tumor and the patient would no longer have the right kidney to compensate for the loss of function. A patient with no kidneys may have to undergo dialysis for the rest of their lives or suffer fatal organ failure.
Wrong Side Brain Injury
A 15-year-old boy was suffering from seizures caused by a lesion in the brain. The boy was going to undergo brain surgery on the right side of the brain to attempt to stop the seizures. During surgery, the surgeon operated on the wrong side of the brain, destroying tissue on the left side instead of correcting the problems on the right side.
The doctor realized he got the sides mixed up but assured the parents that he had caused no damage to the left side of the brain. However, the boy began to have cognitive loss, memory problems, and even suffered hallucinations. A year later, the parents found out the doctor had damaged the wrong side of the brain. The boy’s parents say that he will never be able to live on his own or get a job because of the brain damage caused by the wrong-side surgical error. The patient had to live in a rehabilitation center.
The injury victim was awarded damages of $11 million, which the judge found to be an amount consistent with the insurance company’s liability coverage for the hospital involved in the wrong-side brain injury.
Wrong Side Medical Mistake Lawyers
There may be a number of causes of wrong-side medical mistakes, including rushing, failing to get patient consent, not following proper procedures, or problems with the safety culture at the hospital. The patient should not have to bear the costs of a surgeon’s mistake.
If a surgical error causes serious injury to a patient, the injury victim should be compensated for their losses. A medical malpractice lawsuit can help the family get money damages for pain, suffering, and medical expenses. To discuss your case with a member of our legal team, fill out an online evaluation form or call (800) 529-6162 today.