New tool offered to help prevent wrong-site surgeries

Posted on behalf of Stewart Bell, PLLC on Feb 25, 2012 in Medical Malpractice

As surprising as it may seem, wrong-site surgeries continue to be a common form of medical malpractice in West Virginia and the rest of the United States. In fact, as many as 40 wrong-site surgeries are believed to occur each week throughout the nation.

Whether it is caused by miscommunication among the surgical staff or some other form of negligence, a wrong-site surgery can ruin a patient's life. A few examples of wrong-site surgeries include operations performed on the wrong limb, body part or wrong patient altogether.

This month, the Joint Commission Center for Transforming Healthcare unveiled a new tool in effort to prevent these horrible mistakes from happening. The tool is said to target key surgical procedures that can lead to wrong-site surgeries and provide a step-by-step process to identify, measure and reduce risks.

The Joint Commission said that the Targeted Solutions Tool will be free to accredited organizations, and so far six hospitals and surgical centers have begun using them as part of a test pilot. Reportedly, all steps of the surgical process are covered under the tool, from scheduling to the operating room.

"We know wrong site surgery should never happen, but the problem persists," said the president of The Joint Commission. "Reducing the risk of wrong site, wrong procedure and wrong patient surgery is critical to patient safety and the reputation of any health care organization that performs invasive procedures."

Both hospitals and patients have a valid interest in preventing wrong-site surgeries. Hopefully, hospitals throughout the nation will see this new tool as an opportunity to avoid costly surgical errors and put patient care first.

Source: OH&S, "New Tool Helps Prevent Wrong Site Surgeries," Feb. 17, 2012

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