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Some surgical errors may indicate major quality problems

Arizona surgery patients may be interested in learning that some treatment errors are so serious that medical experts say they should never occur. These include a number of dangerous mistakes that are collectively known as wrong-site, wrong-procedure and wrong-patient errors, or WSPEs. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has even gone so far as to make it a policy to not reimburse hospitals that commit such transgressions.

Past WPSEs have included incidents like patients receiving heart surgery that someone else should have gotten because practitioners confused their last names, neurosurgeons operating on the wrong part of the spine or cancer patients having the wrong side of their organs removed. These errors may occur for diverse reasons, including ineffective safety procedures or hospital cultures that place too much emphasis on performing large volumes of procedures.

WPSEs are relatively rare, and some studies suggest that most actually happen outside the operating theater. Although traditional methods of preventing such errors relied on improving redundancy procedures to confirm that patients were receiving the correct care, research has shown that miscommunication remains a consistent factor in these kinds of mistakes. Measures like pausing for a thorough review before commencing any invasive procedure and using safety checklists may help, but the fact that WPSEs occur so infrequently overall makes it hard to track the efficacy of these solutions.

These types of surgeon mistakes have lasting negative effects that impact patients in various ways. In addition to potentially not receiving the intervention they need to survive, victims may be billed for the wrong procedures and end up struggling to afford proper care as a result. They could also develop additional complications from their incorrect treatment. Working with an attorney may help people make sense of their options so that they can pursue compensation for their losses.

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Law Offices of Raymond J. Slomski, P.C.

2929 North Central Avenue Suite 700 Phoenix, AZ 85012 Phone: 602-635-7603 Fax: 602-230-8707 Phoenix Law Office Map