It’s Not Impossible for Doctors to Perform the Wrong Surgical Procedure in DC

You've no doubt heard the horror stories about doctors removing the wrong leg, or hand, or even eye from a patient as he lies unconscious on the surgical table. Thankfully, your procedure is a simple appendectomy, and you've only got one appendix, so you're not at risk of a wrong-site surgery in Virginia.

Unless the doctor mistakes you for someone else.

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In addition to wrong-side surgeries, a doctor mistaking one patient for another is a common mistake in hospitals across the country. Since surgeons operate on as many as twenty patients per day, they tend to see people as names on a chart rather than the individual before them-and it's surprisingly easy to mistake one chart for another.

Examples of Wrong-site Procedures

Some examples of wrong procedures being performed on patients nationwide:

  • Cardiac catheterization. In a recent case, the wrong patient had a cardiac catheter-a thin plastic tube inserted into a vein to measure blood pressure-inserted in his leg. Luckily, doctors discovered the error before contrast dye was injected into his body.
  • Reproductive organ removal. A 53-year-old woman scheduled for a vaginal hysterectomy at Providence's Women & Infants' Hospital was surprised to discover that her ovaries had been removed in surgery. The mistake occurred because a second patient with the same last name scheduled a surgery to have her ovaries removed on the same day.
  • Impregnation. An NHS fertility clinic implanted a couple's last usable embryo into the wrong patient, permanently ending any chances of the couple having another child.
  • Heart Surgery. A simple medical records mix-up led to a woman accidentally receiving open-heart surgery in a Florida hospital.

Start Your Virginia Malpractice Lawsuit

As experienced Fairfax medical malpractice attorneys, we know that patients are powerless while under anesthesia. They have literally put their lives in the doctor's hands only to suffer lifelong repercussions, often from a simple paperwork mistake. These kinds of surgeries are common forms of medical malpractice cases, and hospitals can be made to compensate the victims for their suffering.  If you or someone you love suffered the wrong surgical procedure, we can help you recover. Call Shevlin Smith today at (703) 591-0067 for your free consultation.

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Michael J. Shevlin
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Specializing in medical malpractice and serious personal injury cases since 1994.