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David Lowe
David Lowe
Attorney • (414) 727-2200

"Wrong Site Surgeries" On The Rise

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A story in the April 17, 2006 USA Today highlights the problem of “wrong site surgery“, where surgeons operate on the wrong part of the body due to errors by the surgeon or hospital staff. The problem is increasing, according to the story:

“It’s getting worse,” says Dennis O’Leary, who heads the non-profit Joint Commission on Accreditation of health care Organizations, which inspects more than 15,000 hospitals and surgical centers nationwide and sets patient safety requirements and guidelines.

One of the problems pointed out by the article is that hospitals have a financial incentive to move patients through the operating room quickly, to maximize use of the facility and production of revenue.

This problem illustrates why it is necessary to oppose laws that would shield these kinds of incidents from disclosure in subsequent lawsuits. One such legislative effort was vetoed earlier this week by Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle. Although the Wisconsin Journal Sentinel characterized the veto as a benefit to trial lawyers, the clear beneficiaries are injured patients seeking compensation for injuries due to wrong site surgeries and similar operating room mishaps.