Wrong-Site Surgery

Serving Philadelphia, Pennsylvania & New Jersey

Surgeries are hard enough for a patient and their loved ones to go through, so if something goes wrong, it can be especially devastating.

When a doctor performs surgery on the incorrect site on a patient, it not only causes unnecessary harm to another body part, but it neglects to fix the area that required surgical treatment. The damages incurred can be severe, permanent and disabling when a wrong-site surgery occurs.

If you had a wrong-site surgery performed, you should know that you may have a medical malpractice claim. This potential claim could include an award of compensatory damages for the physical pain and mental suffering, the disfigurement, the loss of life’s pleasures and the loss of earnings and earning capacity as a result of being disabled, as well as the medical, rehabilitation and lifecare expenses you incurred. A medical malpractice lawyer at Raynes & Lawn may be able to help.

Prevalence Of Surgical Mistakes

Surgical mistakes are more prevalent than the general population realizes. Sometimes this is the case because the patient may not even know that there was a surgical mistake. For example, if the surgery was internal, there may have been something done during the procedure that causes pain and other complications for the patient, but that takes time to correctly diagnose resulting in severe and permanent problems.

Most states and medical facilities have rules and procedures designed to prevent medical mistakes from happening, given the number of people that are likely involved. However, errors do still occur, and surgical mistakes are more commonplace than patients may think.

It is essential to understand your rights if you think that medical malpractice was involved in a surgical mistake that caused you severe harm.

What Is Wrong-Site Surgery?

Wrong-site surgery means that the doctor performed a surgical procedure on the wrong area of a patient’s body, including:

  • the wrong side of the body;
  • the incorrect organ;
  • the wrong limb (which includes both operations performed on the wrong limb and implants).

Additionally, other types of surgical mistakes, errors, or negligent acts may lead to wrong-site surgery. Sometimes the patient is not immediately aware of the fact that a wrong-site surgery occurred. They may later face complications due to surgical mistakes that resulted in an incorrect procedure done on the wrong part of his or her body.

When there is a failure to perform a surgery correctly due to the actions of a medical professional, this may lead to a medical malpractice claim for violating the duty of care a patient is entitled to receive. While a doctor is the most standard party assumed to be responsible for wrong-site surgeries, other persons may also be responsible for the harm caused by a surgical error.

Who Is Responsible For Wong-Site Surgery?

There are many professional people who could be at fault for a wrong-site surgery and thus responsible for it and the harm caused.

Many people think that only a doctor could be at fault when there is a claim of medical malpractice; however, this is not always the case. If you suffered from a wrong-site surgery, it may not have been due to the surgeon’s actions.

While the surgeons may be responsible if they were negligent or contributed to the medical mistake, hospital staff, such as nurses and administrators, may also carry responsibility. An example of this might be when there is a miscommunication between the surgeon and other medical staff. If this miscommunication is the reason that the surgery was performed improperly, on the wrong limb, or on the wrong part of your body, the hospital and the hospital staff involved may be liable.

The surgeon is responsible to ensure there is not an event of wrong-site surgery. Also, the surgeon’s immediate team members, such as the anesthesiologists and the nurses that assisted during the surgical procedure, may also be held responsible depending upon the procedure involved, their role in the surgery, and applicable state laws.

Many People May Be Held Responsible

Most hospitals and care providers have procedures in place designed to prevent a medical issue such as wrong-site surgery from occurring. If the hospitals don’t have such procedures in place, they may be legally liable as well. When these processes fail, many people may be responsible for the harm that results. While it will depend on the type of procedure performed and applicable local laws, the people at fault can extend beyond the immediate persons involved during the actual surgery.


Hospitals are another party that may be held responsible, depending on how they hold themselves out to the public and the local laws. An example is when there is an employer-employee relationship between the hospital and the health professional that violated the duty of care.

Depending on the type of procedure, the state and local laws, and how the hospital represents its services to the public, they may be held responsible to some degree for damage caused by one of their employees. Additionally, this may extend to independent practices operating within their facility due to the nature of the agreement and the expectations of the patient.

Moreover, a hospital may have been the primary party responsible. If there was an issue with how instructions were communicated due to poor policies in place, then a hospital or other medical facility be liable for directly causing the wrong-site surgery to occur.

While there may be one party that directly caused a surgery error, other persons or entities can still be responsible if they contributed through their own wrongdoing to such an avoidable mistake.

Keep Records Of Who Was Involved

Any person that violated their duty of care to the patient and contributed to a surgical error such as a surgery being performed on the wrong part of a patient’s body may be held responsible for the damages that ensue. By keeping track of the relevant facts and promptly contacting an attorney, you improve the probability of ensuring that your rights are protected and making a recovery to be appropriately compensated if you are the victim of medical malpractice.

How Do Wrong-Site Surgeries Happen?

Wrong-site surgeries can happen for a few reasons. If there was a wrong diagnosis, then that may have led to an operation being performed on the incorrect part of the patient’s body. Doctors may incorrectly diagnosis someone and provide incorrect surgical recommendations or instructions which lead to a wrong-site surgery.

Wrong-site surgeries may also occur due to actions by other medical professionals or staff members involved during any stage of the operation. These include the people that were involved before, during and after the surgical procedure. Nurses and administrative hospital staff, along with other persons in similar medical positions, may cause a wrong-site surgery to happen by mishandling a patient’s information.

When a wrong-site surgery happens, the time from which the patient realizes it occurred or when the patient reasonably should have realized may be important depending upon the State law where it occurred. Time limits are different from state to state, which is why it is so important that you consider contacting a Raynes & Lawn medical malpractice attorney as soon as you realize that you may have been a victim of medical malpractice.

Consequences Of Wrong-Site Surgery

If surgery is performed incorrectly, then the reason for performing the surgery is likely going untreated. It is even possible that there was no need for surgery and a patient suffers an unnecessary surgery and complications as a result. A wrong-site surgery also means that more operations may need to be performed to address both the surgical mistake and the initial reason for surgery.

As such, the consequences can include health procedures required to address the initial reason that surgery was to be performed and to fix the incorrect surgery that occurred. These added medical procedures can lead to longer recovery periods, disabilities that may be permanent, pain and suffering, and high medical costs and expenses.

Also, patients who suffered a wrong-site surgery may face employment problems. In addition to a possible temporary loss in wages, there are instances that this impacts the person’s future employment prospects. If severe, this could significantly financially harm someone.

If a wrong-site surgery harmed you or a loved one and you need help, then you should consider whether you have a possible medical malpractice claim. You may be able to receive compensation for the losses and expenses you incurred due to the wrong-site surgery.

What Compensation Can Be Recovered In Wrong-Site Surgery?

When there is a successful wrong-site surgery medical malpractice claim, compensation may be awarded to cover the costs of the harm caused. Typically, this form of monetary compensation is intended to place the patient that suffered harm due to the medical malpractice in a position they could otherwise be in if the malpractice had not occurred. Some examples of the types of compensation include past, present and future physical pain and mental suffering, disfigurement, loss of life’s pleasures, reimbursing costs for lost wages (past and future), medical expenses, hospital and rehabilitation expenses and life care costs.

Compensation Awarded

The compensation awarded will depend on the circumstances of your case and the amount of physical and financial damage that was caused by a wrong-site surgery. In particular, whether the injury is permanent and severe and has financial implications to you and your family will counsel the amount of a compensatory award as a result of the doctor or other staff member’s negligence in your wrong-site surgery case. Moreover, applicable state law may allow for different forms of compensation.

Compensation Awarded For Wrong-Site Surgeries Can Be Substantial

Since wrong-site surgeries can cause consequences that lead to subsequent medical procedures and disabilities, and permanent and devastating changes to you and your family’s lives, the compensation may cover more than most people realize. Compensatory damages that may be awarded will depend on the facts of the case and the many laws that may be applicable given the type of procedure and where it occurred.

Compensatory Damages In Wrong-Site Surgery

If a person is found to have breached his or her duty of care and is found responsible for wrong-site surgery, either wholly or partially, then that person may be ordered to pay a monetary award to the patient and sometimes the patient’s dependents. This award will be in the form of damages to compensate the patient for the damages the medical malpractice caused.

Compensation may include monetary amounts to reimburse the person who suffered from the negligence for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and emotional damages. Other types include compensatory damages that account for the loss of enjoyment of life and the impact the injury had on loved ones or persons relying on the injured party before the wrong-site surgery.

The compensatory damages in a wrong-site surgery medical malpractice matter can help you to get back to a better life. Some awards are very high, especially for serious damages.

Get Compensated For Your Injuries When Medical Malpractice Occurs

Getting compensated for the harm done is why you should seriously consider contacting an attorney about your potential medical malpractice claim for wrong-site surgery. If you are not sure about how strong of a case you may have or how much in compensatory damages you may be entitled, then a medical malpractice attorney at Raynes & Lawn may be able to help.

Consult A Medical Malpractice Lawyer

Have you suffered from a wrong-site surgery? You may need to consult a medical malpractice lawyer to get compensation for the harm caused.

Anyone considering a medical malpractice case that needs help understanding the claim, the procedures, and whether they may be able to receive compensatory damages for the harm they suffered should consult with a medical malpractice attorney. The sooner you do so, the better.

To speak with one of the personal injury attorneys at Raynes & Lawn about your situation, fill out our contact form or call us today at 800-535-1797. We will get back to you as soon as possible to discuss your case and what options you may have.

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