While some medical errors can seem understandable, it is terrifying to think that something like wrong side surgery can exist in these modern times and in one of the most advanced countries in the world. Yet wrong side surgery takes place more often than you would think in America and leads to complications, extra surgeries, and the loss of precious time. Here are some stories of recent wrong side surgeries:
• In 2001, construction worker Kevin Walsh went in for brain surgery to remove a dangerous blood clot. Two talented surgeons opened the 41-year-old man’s skull to drain the hematoma and save the man’s life – only to find they had operated on the wrong side of his body.
• In just two years, Rhode Island Hospital recorded five different wrong side operations – three in which doctors operated on the wrong sides of patients’ brains. The mistakes led to fines and medical malpractice lawsuits.
• In September 2009, patient Francisco Torres, 72, had his healthy kidney removed instead of his diseased one – leaving him with no working kidneys and painful dialysis treatments every three days for the rest of this life.
• Richard Flagg entered the hospital with a diseased and cancerous lung – but during the surgery doctors removed his healthy lung by accident. The man survived for three years with only his bad lung before dying of the medical malpractice mistake.
• Even though nurses had clearly labeled the correct operation site, an orthopedic surgeon operated on the wrong foot of a patient in Boston. It was the fifth wrong site surgery to take place in Massachusetts in as many months.