Very few Arizona patients can expect to ever encounter a wrong-site surgery. This sort of preventable medical error is considered to be of great importance to health care facilities and practitioners, and a wide variety of procedures and protocols have been implemented to prevent it. These measures have been broadly effective. Though it has not yet proven possible to prevent all medical error completely, wrong-site surgeries and wrong-patient procedures will not happen to most patients.
Arizona residents may be aware that reported cases of wrong-site surgery have been on the increase in recent years. Since the 1999 publication of a study by the Institute of Medicine about surgical errors, reports of wrong-site surgeries have increased more than tenfold. Although it is uncertain whether the increase is due to a greater number of errors, improvements in reporting or combinations of factors, individuals who have been negatively impacted by surgical errors have the option to seek legal redress for their injuries.
Next week, hospitals and ambulatory surgical centers will be raising awareness to the dangers of wrong-site surgeries that happen all the time in the United States. June 11 is National Time Out Day, which is designed to raise awareness to the importance of preventing surgical mistakes caused by performing surgery on the wrong patient or on the wrong site of the body.