When the day of your surgery arrives, you put your trust in the hands of your surgeon. For your surgeon to betray that trust or act negligently can result in catastrophe.

According to the Patient Safety Network, wrong-site, wrong-procedure and wrong-patient surgery happen to be some of the most devastating and terrifying medical mistakes.

Understanding WSPEs

There is no excuse for a WSPE to occur. Often, WSPEs occur because of a lack of communication in the OR. Examples of WSPEs include:

  • Surgeons operating on the wrong level of the spine
  • Surgeons operating on the wrong patient
  • Surgeons removing the wrong body part

These events prevent the patient from receiving appropriate medical treatment, but they suffer more harm as a consequence. While it may be rare to experience a never-event in a hospital, on average, it occurs about once every five to 10 years.

Preventing WSPEs

If you suffered injuries because of a WSPE, you may be wondering what hospitals can do to ensure that it never happens again. All surgical teams should have a time-out before the procedure. There is a Universal Protocol that your surgeons should have followed before operating. If they rushed the time-out and your surgery contained multiple errors, this is the hospital’s fault. To prevent these errors, your hospital should act vigilantly to prevent accidents and there should be a strong safety and teamwork culture.

Keep in mind that while some people believe that marking the site for surgery helps, this tends to confuse if not performed by the operating team. Some may not know if the marked site refers to the place to operate or avoid.